Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
American culture voice differences

Have you ever had a difference of opinion with somebody?

Does this make you feel uncomfortable and unsure of how to express that in English?

We’re going to look at various ways that you can tell somebody else about a difference of opinion that you had with another person in English.

There are many phrases to describe this, as you will see it’s a very common part of American culture.

To change the subject a bit, we do want to recognize that there is so much going on and changing constantly with Coronavirus.

You may be quarantined at home as so many people are.

We are trying to keep you in the loop with this, but things change all the time.

This can be a great time to really focus on improving your English, particularly if you are stuck at home.

This is a good time to perfect any skill or try something new–and this is perfect if you are trying to improve your English overall.

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We had a question come in from Instagram that is likely something that you have dealt with as well.

Hi ladies,

It’s always been challenging to me to express my opinions without being judgmental, especially when talking about someone. I’m just not sure of what to say to come across the right way.

I believe this would be worthy to talk about on the show. I’m sure that others aren’t sure about the same type of thing.

Your podcast is magnificent and inspiring, and I enjoy it everyday!

Thank you for your help,

New Barts

Working Through A Difficult Situation

We’re always going to have differences with people, and sometimes that may be differences of opinions.

That’s okay and it’s normal and healthy to have different opinions, but this can lead you to a sometimes difficult place.

This makes you wonder how you can call out those differences in the right way.

How can you draw attention to differences between you and somebody else without being judgmental?

This is something that will come up time and time again, and you want to be prepared for this so you can handle it appropriately.

If you’re talking about somebody that you don’t really like, what can you say?

For a little bit of background, you can listen to Episodes 1218 and 1140.

These are episodes about disagreeing with someone you are talking to directly.

This is different though because this is talking about another person that you may have had a disagreement with.

You don’t share the same opinion, and now you are trying to talk about this to a third party.

This is the focus today, and it’s a situation that may come up quite frequently.

Finding The Right Balance

People are judgmental and they may gossip, but you don’t want to do that.

It’s easy to fall into that trap, but you want to be careful not to.

You are trying not to do that, but rather just disagree with respect.

This is particularly important if you are talking about a difference of opinion that you may have had with somebody else.

You may not agree with this other person, but you don’t want to be rude or mean.

You are talking to a third party or a person outside of this situation.

So you want to be very careful about the way that you describe this difference of opinion.

In this case you are talking to somebody else about this person, and that’s the key difference.

This can be a great work skill, and it allows you to be true to yourself and honest about your opinions.

There will be plenty of occasions in the workplace where you are bound to have a difference of opinion.

This is a skill that allows you to be politically correct, but yet still get your point across.

Perhaps somebody dropped the ball and you are left to pick up all the work.

You want to get your point across and call out this person for not doing their part.

However you want to do this in a way that doesn’t make you look petty or judgmental.

It’s a fine balance and so you have to approach this carefully.

You have to stand your ground and speak your mind, at least that’s a big part of American business culture.

So it’s a balance between standing up for yourself and speaking your mind, but also ensuring that you aren’t coming across as rude or judgmental.

Since there is a third party involved in this, that can be tricky–but you can achieve this with the right approach.

Phrases To Help You Through

When it comes to a tricky situation like this, it can be all about having the right words.

Having the right things to say can make all the difference in the world.

There are many phrases that can help you to recognize that you don’t agree with the person you are referencing.

A typical scenario may go something like this: You are talking to somebody about a person who has an opinion you don’t agree with. It may be political opinions you don’t agree with, as that’s very common right now.

There are many scenarios where this situation may come up, but use this as a starting point.

You will be amazed at just how many phrases can help you to convey that difference of opinion in a tasteful and accurate way.

  • “I wouldn’t do things that way, but to each his own.” You are saying that they can have their own opinion, but you don’t have to agree with it or like it.
  • “Ultimately we had to agree to disagree.” You are saying that it’s perfectly okay that you don’t see things the same way or agree.

These phrases are a way to end the conversation since you aren’t going to be changing each other’s minds.

This makes it final and says it’s okay that you don’t agree.

There are additional phrases along these same lines.

  • “We have agreed to disagree.” This works if you are talking about how you may disagree with somebody. Sometimes you just have to put it to rest and let it go, and this phrase lets you do that.
  • “I’m not judging…whatever floats your boat.” This highlights the differences that you may have with somebody you are talking about in conversation. You have your point and I have mine, and it’s okay.
  • “No judgement.” It’s simple and to the point and says what needs to be said.
  • “He has his opinion and I have mine.” This can be used to describe a difference of opinions or actions that somebody else is taking that you don’t agree with. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and this allows for that.
  • “That’s not my thing.” This means that it’s something that you wouldn’t do or that you don’t necessarily understand or intend to do.
  • “That’s not what I’m into.” You don’t understand the other persons point of view because it’s not how you view things or do things. It’s okay if you’re not into it, and that’s what you’re saying.
  • “That’s not me.” This is very similar to the previous in that you are saying it’s okay if something isn’t your thing.
  • “Different strokes for different folks.” The final one in the series that conveys that differences are normal and okay. This is all about acceptance!

These phrases help you to express that you have a difference of opinion.

They also help you to see that differences are normal and a part of life.

If you know how to express your differences with someone else, then you can do so in an appropriate way–and that’s a huge part of conversation and connection!

This May Be A Cultural Thing

This may give insight into American culture because we have so many different ways to talk about our differences.

Perhaps it’s not like this in other cultures, and that’s something to think about.

Maybe you come from a culture where it’s not as common to express your differences with somebody.

There is a certain mindset within the US that may be different than it is in other countries.

Here in the US, everybody has their own thing, and that’s great.

We celebrate each others differences, and we like to show respect for them.

You are ultimately saying that you are different and letting them be different in their own way.

We have a culture that is founded on everybody being entitled to their own opinion or point of view.

You are bound to hear so many of these phrases and even more like “You do you” or “you be you.”

These phrases are plentiful and it really makes you think just how important and prominent this is within American culture.

Compare and contrast how important it is to celebrate differences in the American culture as opposed to other cultures–it may be quite different.

You Have To Know When To Say Something

There is always a time and place to know when to say nothing.

When you are confident in yourself, you don’t always have to declare that you are different.

It’s about knowing “when to hold your tongue” because pointing out differences really don’t matter in some situations.

This is about getting more mature and recognizing it doesn’t always matter that much.

You start to ask yourself if it’s for your own benefit or for that of somebody else.

You have to decide if it’s really that important to put your differences out in the world.

If you were talking to your partner about differences with their parents, this may be a time to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself.

It may not be worth an argument in a situation like that.

We teach our kids a phrase that happens to be a life long lesson–“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

This holds true for so many situations where expressing differences may actually be unnecessary or cause an argument with a loved one.

We as Americans need to know and recognize when to hold back and not say anything.

You can refine your own personality by picking up on these cues from other cultures.

In so many other cultures, there is a bigger push to keep things to yourself.

You may have to filter yourself and not just throw everything out there and constantly discuss your differences of opinion.

So many of these phrases can be helpful though to discuss the many differences.

You will hear them in conversation a lot, and therefore they are good to understand and use too.

Learn from these and then use them when you find them in this situation that can be tricky at first.


There are going to be times when you have a different opinion with somebody that you are talking to.

This is a natural part of life and it’s okay to disagree with people sometimes.

However when you are talking through this with an outside party, you want to be sure that you approach it in the right way.

These phrases give you a good way to approach the subject and come across in the right way.

When you find yourself disagreeing with somebody’s point of view, just be sure that you discuss it in a delicate way with others.

This can help you to come across well and ensure that you never come across as judgmental.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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