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Could you tell me if there is any difference between the verb agree and consent? For example:

The celebrity has finally agreed to give an interview.

The celebrity has finally consented to give an interview.

3 Answers 3

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As others have pointed out, you can only consent for yourself or for someone you have a legal responsibility for; what others have not pointed out, is that to consent to something is much more like a giving in than agreeing which takes a more active, positive tone. Thus, searches are consented to; decisions are agreed upon, and so on. Also, consent has the flavor of allowing something to happen, but being uninterested or unaffected by it.

In your sentence, the differences are small but noticeable. The star consenting implies that she has been worn down enough to allow the interview. In the other sentence, it implies that she has some interest or excitement in agreeing to it.

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In this example there is very little difference.

Consent is about giving permission for something

Agree is about reaching agreement, so there are lots of other examples where only one of the words would be appropriate

I will consent to a pat-down, but I don't agree that it is necessary.

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  • Thanks for the answer, but I would like to know what the small difference is, especially in my example sentence. Feb 4, 2021 at 22:26
  • You can agree with another person about all kinds of things, but you can only consent to something being done to you (or another person for whom you are responsible). Feb 5, 2021 at 9:59
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Consent applies to actions or changes only and means you are OK if the action or change is done. You can only consent for yourself or someone you have a guardianship-type relationship with such as parent-child.

Agree indicates a matching though and simply means you think the same as something else.

They're not quite the same.

I agree that Alice should receive the death penalty.

We can't say Alice consents to the death penalty, but you are saying that "Alice should receive the death penalty" matches what you think.

I consent to the search by X.

You are OK if X serches you. But you probably don't agree with the reason for it.

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  • Thank you for the great answer! Still it doesn't say if there is any difference between "consent to do something" and "agree to do something" when it's the person who says that. For example: "I consented to be filmed/I agreed to be filmed during my job interview." What's the difference there? Feb 5, 2021 at 8:42

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