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Is saying "mildly/slightly disagree" proper English?

A firm/company may have a policy stating that all employees have to dress formally when they are in the office.

Let's say I work as an employee, and I feel that it is pointless for the computer/software technicians/analysts to dress formally. I can understand if high-level executives and sales people have to dress formally all the time because they meet with customers/clients. However, I do Not think enforcing the policy is a catastrophic/disastrous event. It might be a little burdensome or inconvenient but Not catastrophic.

Would it be correct to say?

"I slightly/mildly disagree with said dress code policy of the company"

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  • But you said you actually agree with it too. Oct 11, 2023 at 12:43
  • 1
    How are you pronouncing that slash? Could you please write that out in English?
    – tchrist
    Oct 11, 2023 at 12:45
  • I meant to say "I slightly disagree" or "I mildly disagree" . I meant to use the slash like an "or"
    – crazyTech
    Oct 11, 2023 at 12:48
  • 2
    I suggest "I partly disagree". Oct 11, 2023 at 12:49

1 Answer 1

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It's possible to use either slightly or mildly in OP's cited context, but native Anglophones rarely do so (particularly with mildly).

Obviously after announcing "some low level" of disagreement, the speaker will be expected to go into detail about the specific point[s] of disagreement. But once he knows what that point is, the addressee might think it's significant, and that the speaker is being presumptuous in assuming the disagreement is only minor.

Hence it's inherently pointless and risky to pre-announce the level of disagreement in this way. The native Anglophone default is I respectfully disagree...

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Alternatively, something like I [must / have to] disagree on [just] a couple of points conveys the same kind of respectful deference by downplaying the number or significance of the points of disagreement (which you're bound to set out in detail as the conversation proceeds). Note that people often say couple or one or two in such contexts even if they have three or four points to quibble over, simply because it's less "confrontational".


Of course, if the speaker is just talking with other "staff" (not management) about some aspect of corporate policy, there's not the same imperative to be respectful. But then we're more likely to say something like I have some misgivings about the company dress code.

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  • I'm somewhat perplexed by the apparent attraction of mannerly adverbs in a situation calling for degree adverbs — intensifiers, to some — instead.
    – tchrist
    Oct 11, 2023 at 12:57
  • "I respectfully disagree" - now that's fighting talk!
    – psmears
    Oct 11, 2023 at 13:00
  • slightly is definitely an intensifier (even listed on the Wikipedia article), and mildly is often used in that fashion (just as mild is also used as an adjective of degree in food contexts.)
    – Stuart F
    Oct 11, 2023 at 13:38
  • I think I've seen 'slightly disagree' in those online opinion polls - "Do you (1) agree, (2) slightly agree..." and the like. Oct 11, 2023 at 14:12
  • @KateBunting: I do Yougov surveys, and initially I thought I might often see slightly disagree in that type of question. But you gotta check, so I did a few site-specific searches. Google currently finds no matches at all for slightly disagree on yougov.co.uk. There are 5 instances of somewhat disagree and 129 instances of tend to disagree. I didn't bother searching for mildly disagree, but I'll eat my hat if that occurs more than once or twice (I'd be quite surprised if it even occurred once). Oct 11, 2023 at 15:26

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