In a heated debate between French friends, you might be called to pitch in and give your opinion, or to tell them whether you agree or disagree. Do you know how to express your opinion in French quickly, when you’re put on the spot?
In today’s lesson, we’ll look at some of the different ways you can agree or disagree with your conversation partner in French.
C’est parti !
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1) Agreeing in French
There are many things you can say to indicate that you agree in French. You can say:
- OK. [“Okay”] → It’s basic, but it works in French too!
- Je suis d’accord. = I agree.
- C’est vrai. = That’s true.
French people tend to be quite disagreeable (stereotypically speaking, of course), so they’re not so used to simply hearing “I agree”. If you do say that you agree, it can be endearing! (Being nice can be your superpower in French conversation.)
Another common (and somewhat true) stereotype is that French people aren’t very enthusiastic, in general. It depends on the person, of course.
But it means that if you do something fantastic, or make an excellent point, a French person might simply tell you: Pas mal. (= Not bad.) That’s high praise!
Terrible ! can also mean “great!”… or, depending on the context, “that’s so sad.”
However, “Pas terrible” always means “mediocre.”
Sometimes you will want to disagree with your French conversation partner on things.
You can use:
- Je ne suis pas tout à fait d’accord. (= I don’t totally agree.) → Tactful
- C’est un peu plus compliqué que ça (= It’s a bit more complicated than that) → Always appropriate.
- Je ne suis pas d’accord. (= I disagree.) → Standard.
- Je ne suis pas du tout d’accord. (= I strongly disagree.) → Strong.
- C’est faux. C’est pas vrai ! (= That’s false. That’s not true!) → Simple but effective!
And just so you know, disagreeing with someone can be the start of a long conversation. French people don’t have a common, easy translation for “let’s agree to disagree” !
For advanced learners, let’s practice your French oral comprehension! In a short text for French radio, the comedian and poet François Morel explores the power of the expression, “C’est un peu plus compliqué que ça.” Click here to check it out.
Now, of course, agreeing and disagreeing is important… but that’s not the first thing you should learn when improving your spoken French. Be sure to master the basic greetings and some words of French politeness, first! Here are some extra lessons that can help you do just that:
- (Lesson in French) The 5 steps to start a conversation in French
- Master the French greetings: Salut, Bonjour and more.
- Politeness 101: The different ways to say Thank you in French.
À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!
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