Language tip of the week: agree

Posted by on August 23, 2012

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about the verb agree:

When you want to say that you approve of something or think it is the right thing to do, use the pattern ‘agree with something‘ (not ‘agree something’):

✗ I don’t agree corporal punishment in schools.
✓ I don’t agree with corporal punishment in schools.
✗ I do not agree this policy.
✓ I do not agree with this policy.

You can also use the pattern agree with doing something:

✗ As a non-smoker, I agree banning smoking in public places.
✓ As a non-smoker, I agree with banning smoking in public places.

Don’t use the pattern ‘agree to something’ when you want to express this meaning:

✗ I agree to this opinion to some extent.
✓ I agree with this opinion to some extent.
✗ I agree to construct a second railway link to the mainland.
✓ I agree with constructing a second railway link to the mainland.

To agree to something or agree to do something means that you will do something that someone wants you to do:

Both sides agreed to some modifications in the proposals.
In the end I agreed to do the job.

Agree is sometimes used with a direct object. In this use, it means ‘to decide something together’ and it is mainly used when talking about official decision-making bodies and organizations.

Yesterday management and unions agreed a pay deal.
Ministers met to agree a strategy for tackling climate change.

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Comments (3)
  • Good to recommend to students..

    Posted by Andrew Orr on 26th August, 2012
  • All the topics on the blog are really interesting and we learn a lot but… why can’t we copy them and paste them in our computer pages?

    Thanks a lot

    Posted by magda zipperlen on 4th September, 2012
  • Can’t it be ‘ in the end I agreed with [doing] the job’

    Posted by Oluwatimileyin Oyebamiji on 15th February, 2014
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