The word "disagree" is intransitive so why in this sentence

It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree"

is there no "with" or "upon" to follow it?

Is its meaning the same as "It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree with each other"?

  • It's entirely a matter of context. The speaker might mean she rarely finds that you and Tom disagree with each other, but she might mean the two of you rarely disagree with her (or even, rarely disagree with anyone, in any situation). Jan 7 '17 at 20:58
  • Thanks for your kind help ! what does this sentence mean , " There are enough differences in views between Trump and Republicans for Congress and the president to disagree." it means Congress will disagree with the president over something or Congress and President will have same stand to be against the something?
    – Steve Choi
    Jan 7 '17 at 21:01
  • I think you're right that disagree is always intransitive for most people, but no-one would have a problem with transitive We agreed the price before he started work. And exactly the same ambiguity would be there in your example if you changed disagree to agree (or argue, or any other verb that could apply to an "object phrase", regardless of whether it would require a preposition or not). Jan 7 '17 at 21:11
  • so it needs context to figure out right ?
    – Steve Choi
    Jan 7 '17 at 21:23
  • 4
    @FumbleFingers I don't agree on "We agreed the price before he started work.", but "We agreed the price was acceptable." would be OK, though still the meaning really is "We agreed on the price."
    – user3169
    Jan 7 '17 at 23:43

Intransitive verbs do not automatically require any with, upon or other type of complement. If the additional information is needed, it can be expressed. If it is not needed, it can be omitted.

It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree.

One of two things are happening here:

  • The speaker/writer is assuming the listener/reader already knows what you and Tom are disagreeing about.

  • This sentence can also mean the same as "It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree on anything" or "It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree in general."


At the risk of being wrong, I have to say I do not understand your own question.

Because disagree is an intransitive verb, it does not need an object, and therefore, does not need "with" or "upon" to follow it.

So, I'm not sure why you want to force it to have one.

The reason "with" or "upon" follow "disagree" at times is because of the object, not the verb.

Does this help?

  • It is unusual for you and Tom to disagree. 这个句子我看不懂 为什么是You and Tom 彼此之间有分歧呢? 为什么不是You and Tom 都不同意某一件事,他们两个一起不同意某一件事或者某一个看法。又比如 There are enough differences in views between Trump and Republicans for Congress and the president to disagree. 这句话,为什么是国会和总统之间有分歧,而不是国会和总统都不同意something,另外 这个总统是Obama 还是Trump 呀? 谢谢黄老师!
    – Steve Choi
    Jan 10 '17 at 18:27
  • @SteveChoi Do you have some context? Where did the Tom sentence come from? Jan 13 '17 at 10:18
  • @SteveChoi Do you still need an answer for the Trump and Republicans sentence? I noticed you got it answered here already. Jan 13 '17 at 10:18
  • Yes , I need more clear explain , thanks so much Ms Huang !
    – Steve Choi
    Jan 13 '17 at 14:24
  • @SteveChoi I've responded on the question's page here. Jan 16 '17 at 8:44

If the subject of the verb disagree is both people, than it means they have different opinions:

Bob and I disagree on this matter.

If the subject is only one party, than you use with to link another party who the subject disagrees with:

I disagree with Bob on this matter.

In your question, the actor is both "you" and Tom, so the sentence is correct. It can be reworded, though:

It is unusual for you to disagree with Tom.

As for upon, it is intended to explain further and introduce the matter people disagree on. If you are not talking about a particular matter and want to say that people just often argue (or if the matter is clear from the context), then no upon/on is needed.

Keep in mind that such constructions are possible:

Bob and I disagree with Tom.

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