How to answer agree disagree in IELTS speaking?

Do you agree that famous people should be used to advertise products on television?
Would you agree that people should have four-day working weeks and three-day
weekends?
Do you agree or disagree that office workers should all wear very formal clothes?
Are you in agreement with the opinion that many young people today care too much
about fashion and not enough about social responsibility?

Language steps
1. Use agreement expressions.
I wholeheartedly agree!
I couldn’t agree more!
I totally agree with you!
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2. Use totaland partial disagreement expressions.
/ can agree withyou to a point,but…
I can see your point,but,.,
I can agree to some extent, but have you considered…
3. Use causeand effect logic to support your opinion.
I can’t possibly agree because if we do X, then Y might happen.
I’m sorry but I absolutely disagree. If people continue to do X, then it could be very bad
for society

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Language step 1 Agreement Expressions
Lets look at how the IELTS candidate Sophia uses the agreement expressions.
Interviewer Some people say that ones university years are the happiest time in life.
Would you agree?
Sophia Yes, I couldn’t agree more!

Notice howSophia expresses total agreement with the examiner’s question by saying Yes,
I
couldnt agree more! This is a very native speaker way to say that you agree 100% with the
other person.
Look at this list of similar agreement expressions:
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly.
I completely agree.
Sure, I too believe thats true /the case.
Yes, I share the same opinion.
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Part Three
Now look at these agreement expressions in the context of IELTS Speaking tests. Notice
how the student not only expresses his agreement, but continues to elaborate on the point
and gives reasons to support his agreement:
Interviewer Well, some people would argue that the best stage in life is after retirement
because life is relaxed and predictable.

Yes, 1 totally agree. After a person has retired, they have gone through the
challenges of their life and can finally sit back and watch life with a more
Donald

relaxed attitude.
Interviewer Many say that parents should give their sons and daughters the freedom to
choose their own majors. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly on that point. Too many parents think they know
best what their sons and daughters should choose to study in university. This
means many young people studysubjects they don’t like, so they don’t study
with passion or enthusiasm.
Donald

f

Language step 2 Total & Partial Disagreement Expressions
Let’s take a look at how the IELTS candidate Mike uses various total and partial disagreement expressions.
Interviewer Many believe that famous peopleshould not be used in advertisements to sell
products. Do you agree?

No, I cant agree with that...Mike
Interviewer / seeyour point, but some people would disagree andsay that advertising com
panies are using his public image as a famous star as a way to convince people
in society to buy their product. Is that not unethical?
OK, but it seems to me that many people, especially younger people, are very
Mike

vulnerable, particularly in today’s fast-paced competitive society, and big
companies are taking advantage of them to make money from them…
Partial disagreement
If you don’t agree with what the interviewer says, it’s polite to say that you can understand the other person’s opinion but you don’t agree with it.
Look at this list of partial disagreement expressions:
I can see your point, but…
I can see what you’re saying, but…
I agree up to a point, but…
I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t really agree because
OK, but have you considered…
Some may hold that opinion, but I’m afraid I disagree because…
Now look at these partial disagreement expressions in the context of IELTS Speaking
tests. Again, notice how the student not only expresses his disagreement, but continues to
elaborate on the point and gives reasons to support his disagreement:
Interviewer Some parents do not accept that thefir sons and daughters, when in university, go to bars and nightclubs on weekends. Do youagree?
Donald . Ermmm…/ can agree to a point, but I do believe that many parents here are
too strict and too traditional, Whilst young people should respect their
parents to a certain point, parents should also understand that life is different
now to when they were young.
Interviewer But, many people would argue that young people are not responsible enough
for themselves, so they need their parents to stop them from getting into danger or into trouble.
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Part Three
Donald I can see what you’re saying, but I don’t totally agree. I think that when we’re in
university, we have reached an age where we should be able to make decisions
for ourselves.
Total disagreement
It’s also very useful to be able to express total or strong disagreement when you want to
be assertive-without, however, sounding rude. When you do this, it’s even more important
to give good reasons why you do not agree.
Look at these total disagreement expressions:
I absolutely disagree because…
I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that because…
I can’t possibly agree with that because
I can’t share your opinion on this issue, to be honest, because
Now look at these total disagreement expressions in the context of IELTS Speaking
tests. Again, notice how the student not only expresses his disagreement, but continues to
elaborate on the point and gives reasons to support his disagreement:
l i t
I I I
Interviewer Do you agree that humansshould not be allowed to eat animals?
Donald I can’t possibly agree with that because humans need to eat meat, at least occasionally, to stay healthy. If we don’t eat meat, we don’t grow up so fast or
strong and we will frequently be under the weather and suffer from minor
complaints like colds and coughs.
Interviewer
.
But many scientists say that’s nqt true, humans can be equally healthy if they
have a completely vegetarian diet.
/ absolutely disagree because I have had a few vegetarian friends over the years
. and they haven’t been as healthy as.my meat-eating friends.
Donald

2. Interviewer: A lot of people are of the opinion that train travel is preferable to flying? Would
you agree?
David:
a
country. However, I disagree; travelling by plane is much more convenient and efficient.
A. I absolutely disagree
B. I understand what you’re saying
C. I can understand why some people might think that
3. Interviewer: Some people think its OK to hunt animals for sport. Do you agree or disagree?
David:
not get enjoyment from the pain or suffering of other livingthings.
A. I can possibly agree with that because
B. I can’t share your opinion on this issue, to be honest, because
C. I can’t possibly agree with that because
4. Interviewer: Some people think that every week all workers should have threeday weekends.
What do you think?
David: Ha hathat would be wonderful! I can see why some hold that opinion,
if We all had threeday weekends, I dont think a country would develop and maintain a healthy
economy
.
A. but I’m afraid I disagree because
B. but have you considered
C. but I absolutely disagree because
5. Interviewer: Many animal rights activists believe that all zoos should be closed and the
animals returned
to the wild. Do you agree?
David:
their species become extinct. Besides, most of these animals grew up in zoos, and so dont
actually know how to look after themselves.
A. I can’t share your opinion on this issue because
B. I’m sorry, I can’t agree with that because
C. OK, but have you considered
6. Interviewer; Do you agree that health care should be provided free to everybody?
David:
care, and not rely on the other taxpayers. It should mainly be provided free to the poor.
A. I absolutely disagree because
B. I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with that because
C. I agree up to a point, but
because many feel that train travel is a more romantic way to get around
hunting is very cruel and painful for animals. I strongly believe we should
without a safe enclosure
, many of these animals would soon die, and
I think rich people or the comfortably offshould pay for their own health
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Part Three
Language step 3 Cause & Effect Logic
As you have noticed in Language Steps1and 2, it is vitally important that, whatever your
opinion, you support your point with reasons and say why you think that way.
Native English speakers often use the logic of cause and effect to support their opinions.
This means that you say what will or what would happen under the circumstances being
proposed.
For example, we shouldn’t just say The rainforests should all be protected as this is not a
very strong argument. It would be much better to say: The rainforests should all be protected
because otherwise global warming will get much worse and many animal species will be killed.
This is a much more powerful and convincing statement.
Look at a few more examples of cause and effect logic supporting opinions:

Opinion
I can’t agree with that
Cause & Kfl’eet Logic
because if we don’t take care of the natural environ
ment, then we’ll regret it in the future.

I completely agree that sports players’salaries because sportsare ruined when thereis toomuchmoney
should be reduced
I absolutely disagree with you
involved and teams start to resemble businesses.
for if we don’t invest in alternative energy, the pollution will reach a dangerous level. ;

I can’t possibly agree that we should give
children more holidays
I agree with you to a point
as it will have a detrimental effect on their studies.
since Ithink it is unfair thatsome people can’t gotouni
versity just because they can’t afford it, but then again

the country can’t payfor everyone togo as we’d run out
of money!
Ireallydon’t agreethat womenshould always because today women also have the righttoearn

stay home and look after the children
|f|j l Exercise 27.3: Matching
money for the family.

Extra language point Rhetorical Questions
Let’s see how the IELTS candidate Mike use the rhetorical questions.
Mike No, I can’t agree with that. I firmly believe that everyone, whether they are famous
or not, has the freedom to advertise what they want. Just because Jackie Chan is a
celebrity, why should this stop him advertisinga deodorant ora makg of camera?
Sometimes, native speakers will use a rhetorical question, usually at the end of their
statement, to express disagreement. A rhetorical question is a question form, but does not
actually require the other person to answer. It is used as a challenge or for persuasive effect
when we are disagreeing.
In the model answer extract above, notice how Mike makes his point, then ends with the
question:Just because Jackie Chan is a celebrity, why should this stop him advertising a deodorant or a makg of camera? Mike is actually saying: Just because Jackie Chan is a celebrity, it
doesn’t mean he should not advertise things.
Look at the examples of rhetorical questions and what they actually mean in the table
below.
Rhetorical Question Meaning
Do you really think that it isfair tostop children I don’tthinkitisfeir at all that peoplestop children
playingcomputer games?
Howcananyonepossiblysuggestoldageisthebest Old age is undoubtedly not the best timein life!
time in life?
playing computer games.
V i ‘ i
Given the facts I’ve just mentioned, how could , Thereis no way capital punishment can he
anyone justify capital punishment? justified.
How can anyone possibly argue that exercise is Everyone knows that exercise is good for their
bad for their health? health.

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