Session 4

You don't agree, but you don't want a big argument... Here are our tips on how to disagree politely and firmly!

ክፍለ-ስራሓት ናይዚ ምዕራፍ

ድምር ነጥቢ ናይዚ ክፍለ-ስራሓት 4

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

How to... disagree

You're wrong!

In this How to… we're looking at disagreeing. In life, we don't always agree with people, but learning how to disagree politely and firmly is an important skill.

We're going to learn a few ways to do this, with the help of Finn, Rob and Neil.

To do

Neil loves The Beatles. Rob prefers Paul McCartney. Neil and Rob have 'musical differences'. In the programme we hear their discussion, or should we say, argument!

Listen to the programme. What does Neil say at the end to try to make the argument finish?

ነቲ ድምጺ ብምስማዕ ነቲ ስራሕ ፈጽምዎ

ነቲ ቅዳሕ ጽሑፍ ኣርእይዎ ነቲ ቅዳሕ ጽሑፍ ሕብእዎ

Finn
Hi, this is Finn. Now, as much as we all like to get along, it's important to know how to disagree in English. So in this programme we're going to tell you how to do it politely – of course - but firmly as well.

Now, as we'll see, in order to disagree well, you also need to know how to agree! Confusing?

Well, let's go straight in and listen to Neil and Rob disagreeing.

Neil thinks The Beatles are the best band ever. Rob is not so sure – he thinks their singer Paul McCartney is better than the whole band. Now listen to their conversation. What happens at the end?

Neil
You know Rob, there is absolutely no doubt at all that The Beatles are the best group, the finest group, in the history of popular music.

Rob
I don't accept that Neil. I mean, you know, they've had some hits. But let's take the musicians individually. I mean Paul McCartney is obviously the one who's had the best career. As a solo singer, I think he's done best.

Neil
Well, I mean that's not true really, is it? I mean, John Lennon died so young that you can't really, you can't really compare.

Rob
No, I don't agree. No, definitely Paul McCartney, I mean he's stood the test of time, he writes his own songs.

Neil
See, I understand what you're saying, but even so, there's no way that you can say that Paul McCartney is bigger than The Beatles. The Beatles were, you know, and are, the biggest group.

Rob
I agree with that but I mean Paul McCartney went on to have a very long music career. You know, much longer than The Beatles. He's kind of covered all kinds of genres hasn't he. He's very talented. He's the most talented Beatle, basically.

Neil
Although you're right about that and his solo career being very long, I can't accept that Paul McCartney is more important, or bigger than The Beatles. I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Finn
So, interesting discussion, and at the end they – agreed to disagree. Now that's a really good phrase – to agree to disagree, and it's often used how Neil did it. So, after a long argument nobody has won, you can say - ah well, we'll agree to disagree, or let's agree to disagree. Or, you can use it with have to - we'll just have to agree to disagree.

OK, so let's look at other parts of that conversation again. What do they do at the start of each of these points that they make?

Neil
Although you're right about that…

Rob
I agree with that, but…

Neil
I understand what you're saying, but even so…

Finn
So what do they do? They agree with each other! They find something they agree about before moving on to the part they disagree about. Now it's a way of making your disagreement seem less aggressive. Listen again:

Neil
Although you're right about that…

Rob
I agree with that, but…

Neil
I understand what you're saying, but even so…

Finn
But sometimes, you can also use a phrase which shows quite clearly that you don't agree, for example:

Rob
No, I don't agree…

Finn
I don't agree. That's pretty direct! And if it's what you mean, then just say it! Now, you can also use phrases like these:

Rob
I don't accept that Neil…

Neil
Well, I mean that's not true really is it….

Finn
I don't agree, I don't accept that, that's not true…

These are all phrases we can use before we go on to make our own point in the argument. So there we go. I hope you've enjoyed listening to this – and no doubt you're hoping for your next chance to have an argument with someone, just to practise!

Anyway, let's listen to the whole thing again. What about you – do you think The Beatles are the best pop band ever? Or do you disagree…? Bye.

Neil 
You know Rob, there is absolutely no doubt at all that The Beatles are the best group, the finest group, in the history of popular music.

Rob 
I don't accept that Neil. I mean, you know, they've had some hits. But let's take the musicians individually. I mean Paul McCartney is obviously the one who's had the best career. As a solo singer, I think he's done best.

Neil 
Well, I mean that's not true really, is it? I mean, John Lennon died so young that you can't really, you can't really compare.

Rob
No, I don't agree. No, definitely Paul McCartney, I mean he's stood the test of time, he writes his own songs.

Neil
See, I understand what you're saying, but even so, there's no way that you can say that Paul McCartney is bigger than The Beatles. The Beatles were, you know, and are, the biggest group.

Rob 
I agree with that but I mean Paul McCartney went on to have a very long music career. You know, much longer than The Beatles. He's kind of covered all kinds of genres hasn't he. He's very talented. He's the most talented Beatle, basically.

Neil 
Although you're right about that and his solo career being very long, I can't accept that Paul McCartney is more important, or bigger than The Beatles. I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Answer

Neil says: "We'll have to agree to disagree."

Downloads

You can download the programme and transcript from our Unit 25 Downloads page.

Summary

In the programme we heard three phrases which we can used when disagreeing:

  • I don't agree...
  • I don't accept that...
  • That's not true...

If you want to be less direct, you can agree about something first, before moving on to make your point:

  • Although you're right about that...
  • I agree with that, but...
  • I understand what you're saying, but...

And finally, if there's no chance of agreement, this phrase can help stop a long argument:

  • We'll have to agree to disagree.

To do

Now, it's your turn to disagree! Try our quiz to see how well you know know these phrases.

I don't agree...

5 Questions

How well do you know the language of disagreeing? Test yourself by choosing the correct answers.

ኣገናዕ፡ ፈተናኹም ዛዚምኩም
Excellent! Great job! ሕማቕ ዕድል! ዘመዝገብኩምዎ ነጥቢ ...:
x / y

End of Session 4

That's it for our How to... guide this time. Try to practise these phrases when you can, even if that means having an argument with someone!

Next, it's time to join Gulliver again on his travels. He's in the land of the giants, Brobdingnag, but he's in great danger. Can our hero escape?

Session Vocabulary

  • Direct disagreement

    No, I don't agree...

    I don't accept that...

    That's not true...

    Agreeing first

    Although you're right about that...

    I agree with that, but...

    I understand what you're saying, but...

    Ending an argument

    We'll have to agree to disagree...