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Improve your Speaking 6: Disagreement

Expressing complete disagreement

A. In my opinion, fashion is a complete waste of time, money and resources.
B. I disagree entirely. The world would be a boring place without change.

A. In my view, government money shouldn’t be used to support the Arts.
B. I’m afraid I can’t agree. Public support for the Arts is the hallmark of a civilized society.

A. Surely, the technology for all this isn’t going to be very user-friendly.
B. On the contrary. There’ll be different levels of user-friendliness for different users.

A. .... it’s impossible to generalize about why people prefer married to single status.
B. Rubbish! It must be possible to compare living together with someone to living on your own. What about the question of independence?

Using irony to express disagreement

A. Besides, the production lines are often highly mechanized.
B. Come off it! Agriculture in the Third World is still fairly labour intensive.

A. Spend more time in Rwanda and you’ll understand what I mean.
B. Come on! The films we see on TV don’t go that far. At least there’s some censorship.

A. Besides, it’s such a cruel way to kill them.
B. Do you really think so? Once the first dog had caught up with the fox, death is fairly instant.

Dismissing an argument as irrelevant or improbable

I bet you can get traditional Spanish wines and beers!
That isn’t the point. I’m talking about soft drinks.

That’s highly debatable. Some of the exhibits you see from contemporary artists are no more than tins of baked beans and piles of bricks.

That’s highly unlikely. Everybody understands that films and plays contain drama and that the purpose of the news is to report on what’s wrong.

Disagreeing diplomatically (through doubt)

A. The elderly are often confused by modern telephones and automatic switchboards.
B. I wonder whether that’s the case. Isn’t it rather that they enjoy getting out and about instead of sitting next to a telephone?

A. What I’m saying is that older people have been there before. They’ve had the problems and found the solutions.
B. I’m not sure that it works like that. You see today’s young live in a different age.

A. If the songs are any good, then surely they’ll survive.
B. I’m not so sure about that.
A. Why not?
B. (Because traditions are now under attack from mass production and mass marketing.)

Well, I’m not sure whether you can really separate language from culture...

Disagreeing in part ( appeal to logic )

A: But surely, the canal system is much too slow for industry today.
B: Not necessarily

A. By the time you’ve loaded the goods onto a truck, you might as well do the whole journey by road.
B. That doesn’t necessarily follow. A lot of trade is with Europe and before the Channel Tunnel there was a good container industry.

A. ... the advertiser may pay, but the costs are passed onto the consumer.
B. That isn’t strictly true. If a company can sell in bulk, prices can be brought down.

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