Are there any idiomatic ways in english writting to express disagreement as regards someone's opinion?

These are what i normally read:

"i respectfully disagree"

"With due respect, i disagree"

"Reluctantly, i differ".

  • 1
    I beg to differ with.....
    – Void
    Nov 21, 2020 at 12:50

2 Answers 2


As a "rule of thumb" when someone says "with respect..." that means that they don't have much respect for the speaker!

(Examples of this are in the Comedy program "Yes Minister". The civil servant who thinks he is much cleverer than the Minister often starts with "With respect, minister, ...." It is clear to anyone watching that the civil servant is very clever, and doesn't respect the minister at all!)

If you have to tell someone that you are speaking with respect, it suggests that the respect is not actually there.

But these kinds of expressions do exist in English, for that reason: because the thing you are about to say implies disrespect, so you want to soften by saying "respectfully"...

The simplest way to say that you disagree is

I disagree...

And then explain why you disagree.

Or just explain what your opinion is... You don't have tell people that it doesn't agree with another person.

If you want to, you can say "I have to disagree because..." or "Reluctantly, I'm going to disagree..." or "I respectfully disagree" and so on. There are many many things to say and none is particularly better than another. You can use any of the examples in your question.


"I'm afraid I don't agree".

"I'm sorry, but I beg to differ."

"I'm really not sure I can agree."

All the above are polite and respectful enough, without descending into the trap of obsequity.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, "With all respect", and perhaps more pointedly, "With all due respect" tends to sound less polite, because it has evolved into the usage whereby it is tacitly implied that the speaker does not have a great deal of respect for the hearer. Such usage leads one into a minefield of manners.

  • obsequity? Or obsequiousness?
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2020 at 16:47
  • @Lambie Obsequity, according to a number of online dictionaries. "Obsequiousness" is an ugliness on a par with "proportionality" and "burglarization". Nov 21, 2020 at 22:06
  • You'd be wrong about that. Oxford's Lexico states that is is late 19th century and rare. obsequiousness is correct and similar to proportionality, which is the noun associated with state of being proportional. ness and ality in English go to some state or condition. Also, we just use the noun burglarizing, as burglaritization is not even a word in English.
    – Lambie
    Nov 23, 2020 at 0:39
  • @Lambie Yes "obsequity" is rare but not incorrect. And to call "obsequiousness" ugly is not wrong, it's 100% correct. "Proportionality" is one of those back-formations born of ignorance of a noun from an adjective. The noun is "proportion". Nov 26, 2020 at 7:01
  • No one would ever use that. Ask any native English speaker. Proportion is one term; proportionality is another. Two different terms. ality and tion are not the same.
    – Lambie
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:27

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