Phrases for conversations, debates and discussions

Phrases for conversations, debates and discussions

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Asking someone their opinion on a topic

Yes/No Questions

  • Do you believe in …?
  • Do you believe in …?
  • Do you think we should …?
  • Do you think everybody should …?
  • Do you think that…?
  • Would you consider …?
  • Would you ever consider …?

OR Questions

  • Are you for or against …?
  • Would you prefer…?
  • Would you rather …?
  • What is better: – … or …?
  • WH Questions What do you think of …?
  • What do you think of …?
  • What do you think of package holidays?
  • What do you think is the problem between … and …?
  • What do you think is the problem with …?
  • What do you think are the causes of …?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages…?

Negative Yes/No Questions

  • Don’t they…?
  • Don’t you think it’s better to …?
  • Don’t you understand that …?
  • Don’t you see that …?
  • Can’t you see that …?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to …?
  • Wouldn’t it be wiser to …?
  • Wouldn’t you agree that …?
  • Why shouldn’t they?

Delaying Strategies

  • I can’t answer that directly.
  • I’ll need time to think about that.
  • That’s a very interesting question, because…
  • That’s a difficult question to answer, because…
  • That’s a tough question to answer, because…
  • To be honest, that’s a difficult question, because …
  • That’s a very good question.
  • The reality is that …
  • What do you mean by that?
  • What do you mean by …?
  • Well, it depends on what you mean…
  • Well, if you ask me, it all depends on your circumstances…
  • Well….

Asking someone information

  • I’d like to know I’m interested in Could you tell me..?
  • Could I ask about …?
  • Do you know if…?
  • Do you know what….is?
  • Do you happen to know whether or not…?
  • Do you happen to know what…. Is?

Presenting arguments

Presenting the most important point

  • The main thing is…
  • The most important thing is…
  • Primarily
  • Most importantly,

Presenting a number of arguments

  • First of all, …
  • Firstly, …
  • Well, firstly …
  • To begin with, …
  • I’d start by …
  • For a start, …
  • There’re two points here.
  • Firstly, …
  • Secondly, …
  • There are two problems here….
  • Moreover
  • You also have to consider

Adding an argument

  • Also, ….
  • Again, that depends on …
  • In addition, …
  • What’s more, …
  • I might add that…
  • Perhaps I should also mention…
  • Not to mention the fact that …
  • Plus the fact that…
  • Not only that, but…

Giving your opinion about a topic

Expressing a strong opinion

  • In my opinion, …
  • In my view, …
  • In my reckoning, …
  • I strongly believe in …
  • I definitely think that …
  • Well, if you ask me, …
  • Well, I think …
  • I believe
  • I strongly believe
  • I have a reason to believe
  • I’m sure that…
  • I’m pretty sure that…

Expressing a strong value

  • ( It’s / They’re + value adjective)
  • It’s a nonsense to … …
  • It’s a scandal, because …
  • It’s perfect for …
  • It’s wrong…
  • Likewise, …
  • They’re ideal …

Expressing certainty

  • According to government statistics, …
  • Actually, …
  • In fact, …
  • Clearly, …
  • Obviously, …
  • People have always …
  • People just won’t continue to …
  • Without doubt, …
  • There’s no doubt that ….
  • Undoubtedly Surely, …

Agreeing

Expressing complete agreement

  • Exactly!
  • Precisely!
  • Totally!
  • Absolutely!
  • That’s right!
  • Correct!
  • You’re right!
  • You’re so right!
  • That’s so true!
  • I couldn’t agree with you more!
  • I’m with you on that
  • That’s just what I was thinking!
  • That’s exactly what I think.
  • That’s a good point.
  • That’s just how I see it.
  • My feelings exactly.
  • I’ll say!
  • You can say that again!

Agreeing in part

  • Yes, perhaps, however …
  • Well, yes, but …
  • Yes, in a way, however …
  • Hmm, possibly, but …
  • Yes, I agree up to a point, however …
  • Well, you have a point there, but …
  • There’s something there, I suppose, however…
  • I guess you could be right, but …
  • Yes, I suppose so, however …
  • That’s worth thinking about, but …

Expressing conditional agreement

  • I’d agree with you if …
  • I’d certainly agree if you’re thinking of …

Disagreeing

Expressing complete disagreement

  • I don’t think so!
  • I disagree
  • I disagree entirely.
  • I’m afraid I can’t agree.
  • I’m afraid you’re wrong
  • On the contrary!
  • Definitely not!
  • Rubbish! Nonsense!
  • That’s ridiculous!
  • Never in a million years!
  • Using irony to express disagreement
  • Come off it!
  • Come on!
  • Do you really think so?
  • What!
  • You can’t actually mean that!
  • You can’t be serious!
  • Are you pulling my leg?
  • Are you kidding?
  • You must be kidding!

Dismissing an argument as irrelevant or improbable.

  • That isn’t the point.
  • That’s highly debatable.
  • That’s highly unlikely.

Disagreeing diplomatically (through doubt)

  • I wonder whether that’s the case.
  • Hmmm, I’m not sure about that..
  • I’m not sure (that) it works like that.
  • I’m not so sure about that.
  • I’m not so certain
  • Well, I’m not sure whether you can really …
  • Well, I don’t know…
  • Well, it depends…
  • I’m inclined to disagree with that…

Disagreeing in part ( appeal to logic )

  • Not necessarily
  • That doesn’t necessarily follow.
  • That’s not necessarily true
  • That isn’t strictly true.

Countering Countering directly (through antithesis)

  • But But who can say that …?
  • But why …?
  • But if …
  • But surely, …

Countering politely (through agreement followed by antithesis)

  • Yes, but remember that
  • Yes, but it isn’t that …

Countering politely (through partial agreement followed by antithesis)

  • That may be so, but …
  • That may be true, but …
  • That may be so, …
  • That might have been the case once, but …
  • Well, maybe they do, but …
  • You may be right about …, but ..
  • Maybe…But the problem is…
  • That’s a good idea, but…
  • That’s a good point, but…
  • I’d love to, but…
  • That would be great, except that…
  • That may be so, but…
  • Possibly, but…
    • …, but what I’m concerned with is…
    • …, but what I’m afraid of is…
    • …, but what bothers me is…
    • …, but what I don’t like is…
    • …, but what I’m concerned with is…

Countering using “after all” “at least” “even so” both for concession and antithesis …

  • After all, …
  • At least there’s …
  • But at least…
  • Well, even so, …

Logical Argument

Questions or conclusions based on conditions with “if”

  • If …, why don’t they just …?
  • What if …?
  • And what happens if …?
  • What would happen then if …?
  • If that is so…, (then) ….
  • That would be true if…
  • You would be right if…
  • That would make sense if…
  • It’d be O.K. if …

Questions based on conditions with sentence adverbials ” then” and “so”

  • But if you…
  • Then how do you go about …?
  • Then can you tell me what’s wrong with …?

 

Expressing Cause and effect

Cause

  • The reason why… is …
  • The reason why … is that …
  • Due to …,
  • … Because…
  • Because of (+noun)
  • Because…,
  • Since…,
  • …is why…

Result

  • For this reason,…
  • For this reason alone, …
  • Owing to this, …
  • This is why …
  • That’s why…
  • This is the reason why …
  • Therefore
  • So
  • As a result
  • Consequently,…
  • Thus,…
  • Clarification

Asking someone to repeat

  • Pardon me?
  • Pardon?
  • Excuse me?
  • Sorry?
  • I’m sorry?
  • I beg you pardon?
  • Could you say that again?
  • Would you repeat that please?
  • Would you mind repeating that please?
  • Sorry, what did you say?
  • Sorry, what was that?
  • What’s that again?

When you can’t follow the logical progression in someone’s argument

  • You lost me there.
  • I’m lost.
  • I’m not following.
  • I don’t follow.
  • I didn’t get that.

Asking for clarification through short Yes/No Questions inviting illustration or example.

  • And are they right?
  • Does that make it ok?
  • Can you be a bit more specific?
  • Are you saying that …?.
  • Are we talking about …?

Clarification through “What” or “How” Questions inviting illustration or example.

  • What’s wrong with that?
  • What’s wrong with …?.
  • What do you mean?
  • What do you mean by …?
  • What are you trying to say?
  • In what way?
  • How do you mean?
  • Why do you say that?.
  • Why is that Why not?
  • Can you explain why …?
  • Why do you think that?

Giving clarification / Reiteration through reference to subject

  • I’m talking about …
  • I’m saying that …
  • What I’m saying is that …
  • The whole point of this is that…
  • That’s what this discussion’s about.
  • I’m talking about …

Giving clarification after misunderstanding

  • What I mean is…
  • What I meant is…
  • What I’m saying is…
  • What I’m trying to say is…
  • Don’t get me wrong…
  • Don’t misunderstand me…
  • Let me put it another way, …
  • That’s not what I said…
  • That’s not what I meant What I said was…
  • What I really said/mean/meant…
  • You must have misunderstood me…
  • Let’s get it straight…

Illustrating a point

  • For example, …
  • For instance, …
  • Take for example …
  • A classic example of this is…
  • A classic example of this would be…
  • To illustrate my point…
  • Let me give you an example…
  • Just as an example, let me …

Expressing solutions and alternatives

  • The solution is to …
  • Then you will …
  • The best way to … is …
  • To …, you really have to ….
  • There are many choices.
  • You can …
  • You can …….
  • Alternatively,
  • … Instead, …
  • The alternative is…

Interrupting

Polite interruption

  • Sorry, but…
  • May I say something?
  • May I add something?
  • May I ask a question?
  • I’d like to say something about that

Holding the floor

  • Hold on
  • Hold on a second
  • Yes, I was about to mention that.
  • Well, I was about to come to that
  • Sorry, I haven’t finished yet …
  • I haven’t made my point yet …
  • I’m about to make my point …
  • I’m almost done …
  • If you could just give me a second …
  • If you let me finish, I’ll tell you!
  • Please let me finish
  • Could you wait until I’m done?
  • I’m talking here!
  • Would you let me finish?
  • Would you hold on a second?

When two people start speaking at the same time

  • Please
  • Go ahead
  • You first
  • Please, I can wait
  • It wasn’t all that relevant
  • It wasn’t important
  • Never mind.
  • In that case
  • In that respect If you are talking about…, then…
  • As far as that goes…
  • On that point…

Exceptions

  • There are exceptions, of course…
  • One should mention, or course…
  • An exception to that is…
  • This does include…
  • Except of course…
  • One exception is…
  • Another exception is…

Getting back to the point

  • Anyway In any case,…
  • To return to…
  • Returning back to…
  • To get back to the point…
  • Let’s get back to the point…
  • Where was I?
  • What were we talking about?

Generalisation

  • Generally,…
  • In general, …
  • As a rule,…
  • Usually,
  • Typically,
  • By and large,
  • On average,
  • Generally speaking,
  • Speaking in general terms,…

Conclusions

  • To make a long story short,…
  • So in short,…
  • So you see…
  • So, finally,…
  • So,…
  • All in all,…
  • In the end,…
  • To conclude,…
  • To sum up,…
  • To summarise,…
  • Summing up, …
  • To put it simply,…
  • To put it in a few words, …
  • In a nutshell,…
  • In brief, …
  • To be brief,…

Soliciting feedback

Making sure that you have the listener’s attention.

  • Right?
  • You know?
  • (you) know what I mean?
  • You understand?
  • Got me?
  • Got it?

Making sure that the listener is following your explanation or logical argument.

  • (are) You following?
  • Are you following me?
  • Are you with me?
  • Okay so far?
  • Do you understand so far?
  • Have you got it?
  • (It) Makes sense, right?

Reminding the listener of something you said earlier.

  • Remember?
  • Remember when I said…?

Providing feedback

Keeping the conversation

  • Right Okay
  • Yeah I know what you mean.
  • I know.
  • I see…
  • Of course
  • That’s normal
  • True

Keeping the conversation by asking the speaker to provide more information.

  • Yes?
  • And?
  • Well?
  • So?
  • Then…
  • And then?
  • Such as…?
  • Mh hmn
  • Uh-huh

Keeping the conversation by showing surprise.

  • Really?
  • Is that right?
  • I didn’t know that!
  • Wow! Are you sure?
  • How do you know?
  • How do you know that?
  • Who told you that?
  • No way!
  • No!
  • (are) you serious?
  • For real?
  • How’s that possible?

Explanations

  • Let’s see… Ok!
  • Let me put it this way
  • Let me put it another way.
  • Let me see if I can explain it for you
  • Here’s the thing.
  • Here is what I mean.
  • This is what I want to say.
  • I’ll try to explain.
  • Let me try again.
  • Here’s what you need to know/remember

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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