In a roundabout way I used to say:

I agree to your proposal, but I don't accept it.

In Korean, I used to say this when I was unwilling to do something and therefore wanted to decline it.

In Korea, the meaning of 'agree' is not equal to that of 'accept'. So, above expression is reasonable expression, if you say it at least in Korean.

By the way it seems somewhat illogical to say that in English. I looked up the world 'agree' in Collins Cobuild dictionary this morning and found a explanation as follows:

If you agree to do something, you say that you will do it. If you agree to a proposal, you accept it.

I wonder what difference is in using 'agree' and 'accept' at the same situation and whether the following expression is right:

I agree to your proposal, but I don't accept it.

  • 2
    Please consult a good dictionary and select the defintions for accept and agree that correspond best to these korean words, then edit your answer to add the definitions.Here is an example of a good dictionary. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/agree
    – JavaLatte
    Aug 12 '16 at 12:40
  • 8
    I can't think of any circumstances where it would make sense to say I agree to your proposal, but I don't accept it. If we reverse the terms and change the context slightly, you could certainly say I accept your orders, but I don't agree with them. That's to say, you can (unwillingly, reluctantly) accept and go along with a decision if you're being forced to, even though in principle you don't agree with the decision. But not the other way around. Aug 12 '16 at 13:06
  • @FumbleFingers You should write an answer.
    – user3169
    Aug 12 '16 at 17:27
  • 1
    @user3169: I don't know Korean, and I don't understand why OP seems to have effectively "reversed" the relevant distinction between agree and accept after taking into account how the corresponding terms are used in Korean. Perhaps the problem lies in using a "translation" dictionary, rather than a "definitions" dictionary such as might be used by a native speaker. The point I made in my comment is trivial from the perspective of any native speaker, so anyone else could provide that information. But we could help OP more if we understood why he got things wrong in the first place. Aug 12 '16 at 17:55
  • @JavaLatte Thank you for your advise. I will use the Oxford dictionary next time, When I need look up something
    – doubleUFO
    Aug 13 '16 at 9:27

Depending on the context in which you are saying this, it would perhaps be better to say something like, "I agree to implement your proposal, but I'm not sure I accept its validity."

The key thing here is, that you are agreeing to do (implement) the task described in the proposal, but not accepting its merits or value. This is an important distinction, because it allows you to politely raise concerns (hence saying, "I'm not sure") about a task, without refusing to actually do it.

You could also swap out 'validity' for 'utility' if you wanted to suggest that the activity isn't particularly useful or productive.


I agree to your proposal, but I don't accept it.

is contradictory (at least, at first sight) because agree to generally means that you accept something. Some discussion on the matter can be found on ELU:
“Agree on” vs. “agree with” vs. “agree to”.
In this case, you are accepting the terms of the proposal, and so you are essentially saying

I accept your proposal, but I don't accept it.


In other words, the preposition next to agree can change the meaning. It is possible you mean to say that you agree with the proposal. This means you accepts the points of the proposal, but for some unspecified reason, you cannot accept it (approve it, implement it, etc).

I agree with your proposal, but I cannot accept it because it violates company policy.

for example.

  • Thank you for comprehensive explanation. especially the last example!
    – doubleUFO
    Aug 13 '16 at 10:21
  • One could say I can't agree with your proposal because it would violate the company policy.
    – Kinzle B
    Oct 4 '20 at 0:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .