Functional Language: Useful English Phrases for Discussion and Debate

"Functional language" is language that we use to perform various "functions" such as "agreeing" or "disagreeing"


Useful English Phrases for Discussion and Debate

1. Introduction

  • Let’s begin/start with …

2. What you think about somebody/something

  • As far as I’m concerned …
  • I think …
  • In my opinion …
  • As far as I know …
  • In my view …
  • I don’t think …
  • I don’t believe that …
  • Well, if you ask me …
  • If you want my honest opinion …
  • I’ve never come across the idea that …

3. How to agree/disagree

  • I must admit that …
  • I totally/fully/partly agree.
  • I agree/don’t agree with you.
  • I believe/don’t believe …
  • I’m convinced that …
  • The way I see it …
  • It seems to me that …
  • I wouldn’t say that …
  • I don’t think so.
  • You’re right up to a point.
  • You could be right.
  • That can’t be right.
  • I don’t agree at all.
  • As a matter of fact, …
  • That’s right/wrong.
  • Exactly.
  • I can understand …
  • It’s hard to say.
  • It’s a fact that …
  • However, …
  • That’s why …

4. Asking for clarification

  • What do you think?
  • What's your opinion?
  • Would you like to say something?
  • What do you mean?
  • What are your ideas?
  • What are you trying to say?
  • ...

5. How to interrupt politely

  • I'm sorry, but ...
  • Can/May I add something?
  • Sorry to interrupt, but ...
  • ...

6. Other opinions

  • On the one hand ... on the other hand ...
  • They claim that ...
  • They also say ...
  • Opinion among teachers is that ...
  • That's a matter of opinion.
  • ...

7. Phrases to keep a discussion going

  • Let's get back to ...
  • As we just heard ...
  • Where were we?
  • ...

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Functional Language: Useful English Phrases for Discussion and Debate

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