Is it considered a mistake to use "I will not agree" instead of "I will disagree", or it's just a matter of taste or emphasis.


I'll not agree with them.

I'll disagree with them.

  • If you want a form that would be idiomatic in all major dialects of contemporary English, "I will not agree with them" or "I won't agree with them" or "I will disagree with them" or "I'll disagree with them" The meaning is that you intend or plan not to agree. The form I'll not is not used everywhere and is regarded by some speakers as old-fashioned. Jun 21 '18 at 13:33

I don’t know why, but to me as a native American English speaker, “I’ll not agree with them” sounds like something that a British speaker might say, but not a native American speaker.

I don’t think it’s technically wrong to say “not agree,” but I would definitely prefer “I’ll disagree with them” (which sounds a little like a threat) or “I won’t agree with them” (which is probably the most common).

  • Unfortunately, the phrase I don't disagree seems to be increasingly common in North America, especially in business settings. I've often found it "disingenuous" because the person isn't actively committing to the fact that they agree. (I'm not going to speak against you—but I'm also not going to support you.) It plays into my own answer here. Jun 21 '18 at 14:39
  • When I've heard the phrase "I don't disagree" it generally means that the person is conceding a point or admitting or agreeing that another person is correct. I generally see "I don't disagree" as being neutral or positive, whereas "I'll disagree" or "I won't agree" are strictly negative.
    – Pro Q
    Jun 21 '18 at 14:50
  • As a side note to my answer, "I will not agree with them" still sounds a little weird, but is more American-sounding. (We hardly ever say "I'll not.") If there is a decision to be made, saying "I would not agree with that" is a common way of expressing disagreement.
    – Pro Q
    Jun 21 '18 at 14:56

It is not a mistake, because they have the same meaning.

Depending on the context "I'll not agree with them." can be seen as having an emphasis through the "not".


I'm going to give a different answer from the others here.

If you assume that there are only two states—agreement and disagreement—then the two sentences would convey the same meaning.

However, that's not actually the case.

I have no opinion.
I don't really know.
I'm keeping an open mind and withholding judgment until I hear more.

In all of these cases, the speaker neither agrees nor disagrees. They are neutral.

Therefore there are two possible interpretations of your first example:

1) I will not agree with them, but I will not disagree with them either.
2) I will not agree with them, and, further, I will actually disagree with them.

Your second example matches my second example—but not my first.

Therefore, it would be a mistake to say that your two sentences necessarily have an equivalent meaning. (Although some people might assume such.)

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