How To Disagree In A Letter Or In Person

Agree and Disagree: How To Argue
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Gene Griessman

You want to disagree with someone, but you want to do it in a polite manner.

Here’s a useful expression that you may want to add to your letter-writing and conversational vocabulary.  I heard it when Norwegian Rock Star Ida Maria was interviewed on PBS.

The singer who is known for the song “I eat boys like you for breakfast” was asked by the interviewer if she had a negative attitude about males.

Marie began politely, “I can agree with you that…but I also…”

I think this is an useful formula for a letter or if you are making an argument. It is polite and respectful of the other party. It begins on a positive note and makes a point of acknowledging that there is some merit in the statement/s that has just been made.

It does have the limitation of relying on the word “but,” which every experienced conversationalist and debater listens for.

With that caveat, I recommend that you try out this expression the next time you want to make a point in your letter writing or in face-to-face conversations.

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