I wonder whether I could use "see eye to eye" when I agree with someone spontaneously like this,

" I see eye to eye with you"

or when I disagree with someone

" I don't see eye to eye with you"

  • In my experience as a native US English speaker, seeing eye to eye is almost always used negatively, like "We don't see eye to eye on that issue", and almost never in a positive sense. – stangdon Jan 31 '18 at 19:35
  • is never used in a positive manner, is used only to express strong disagreement. – NALINI Jul 2 '18 at 6:51
  • Something should be said for "seeing eye to eye" being slightly different than "agreeing with". I rather see it as being on the same wavelength, which is to say that you get along with someone or to have similar opinions with someone, moreso than simply agree with them. The notion is a bit stronger, and to say you don't see eye to eye with someone in an argument, it is a bit like admitting you don't like them for the opinions they have. Don't use it in formal situations! – Neil Sep 6 '18 at 8:02
  • See eye to eye= to be on the same page – Lambie Jun 10 at 20:57

Google ngrams suggests that use of the expression peaked in the 1940s. Both of these have been said to me within the past ten years, but not often, and I have heard the expression used in reported speech: "Bill said that he did not see eye to eye with Jeremy".


looking at contemporary uses of this idiom in COCA (corpus of contemporary English), almost all uses are with a plural subject i.e. not "I" and without a preposition.

He and Bitsy obviously didn't see eye to eye about that.

She liked that they could meet eye to eye

she and David were eye to eye.

it's a well-known fact they are groups who don't see eye to eye.

In conclusion, it's not correct to use the idiom with the preposition "with" and "I" as a subject alone (or it's not a common use at least) as in the examples you've provided. It's best if you say "you and I don't see eye to eye" (plural subject, without a preposition)

source : https://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

*note: saying "you and I don't seem eye to eye" to someone, might sound a bit direct. you might want to soften a bit using I guess or I think, this way you won't come off as rude or curt. I don't think You and I see eye to eye or you could say something like :

"I'm not quite sure about that (what you're saying)"

if you want to say that you have a different opinion or you don't agree with what they say.

"let's agree to disagree

this is also a respectful way of saying you don't agree with someone's opinion on a matter

  • Say "We see eye to eye on this" or "We're not seeing eye to eye on this." – LawrenceC Jun 30 '18 at 22:32
  • 1
    Where did you get your quote "She liked that they could meet eye to eye" from? Because that sounds like a mistake to me - like someone meant to say "face to face". The expression is "see eye to eye", not "meet". – Astralbee Sep 6 '18 at 7:55

This expression is generally used in the negative- "don't see eye to eye".

It is generally used with the two parties as the subject, rather than a single subject and a with-phrase for the second party:

Tom and Linda don't see eye to eye. - normal
Tom doesn't see eye to eye with Linda - less common

It's a way of informing a third party of a situation, so you wouldn't use it with you as one of the parties (they already know). You might, however, use it with you to form a rhetorical question:

You and Tom don't see eye to eye, do you?

If the speaker is one of the parties, I will be the second party- as in any other and-phrase that includes the speaker:

Tom and I don't see eye to eye.

It tends to suggest that there are far-reaching (for example, ideological) differences of opinion between the two parties, unless you add an about-phrase:

Tom and Linda don't see eye to eye about sending James to public school

It is often used in a euphemistic way about a disagreement that is quite deep-rooted and emotional.

For the positive situation with a specific subject, it would be better to say

I'm with you
I'm with you on that

For the negative, you could say

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you about that
I don't agree with you
I disagree

If you have a lengthy discussion and cannot reach agreement, you can finish it by saying

I think that we're going to have to agree to differ.


The expression "see eye to eye" means to be in agreement.

It is true that in modern English, it tends to be used along with a negative, either can't or don't.

However, the expression is very old and appears to be Biblical. It is found in the Hebrew Bible book of Isaiah, chapter 52 verse 8, and it is used in the positive sense:

Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.
(King James Version)

Of course, Bible translations render the original language into modern text, and some English idioms used in translations are not found in the original. Some modern English translations of this verse use the expression "in unison" rather than "eye-to-eye". However, a look at the original Hebrew text shows that the expression was there too - the Hebrew is 'oin b·oin' (literally "eye by eye").

So, "eye to eye" seems to be an ancient Yiddish idiom, and was originally used in a positive sense. There is no reason then that it cannot be used that way today, except that there are probably a lot more popular expressions such as "on the same level" or "on the same page" that are preferred, and "eye to eye" seems to have naturally become only used in a negative sense.

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