1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

I can't/couldn't agree with you more.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    I couldn't agree with you more.
    I can't agree with you more.

    Is there any nuance between the two? I would only use the first to mean 'I fully agree'. I even think the second one is not correct English. Am I right? Thank you.
     
  2. Southern Paul New Member

    English - Australian
    Hi

    You are 100% correct. The second one is not correct English.

    cheers
     
  3. The Traveler

    The Traveler Senior Member

    Spanish and Catalan
  4. Southern Paul New Member

    English - Australian
    Hi The Traveler

    You can use it either way. It's fine to say 'I couldn't agree more with you' or 'I couldn't agree with you more'. I think the second usage is a touch more informal than the first, but still very acceptable.

    Cheers
     
  5. AskLang Senior Member

    Manila
    Filipino
    If I may add a question here, can you explain a bit why there is a negative to the word agree and not: I could agree more with you. ?
     
  6. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    Hang on.

    I couldn't agree more with the opinions stated in your recent editorial.:tick:
    AND
    I couldn't agree with you more.:tick:
     
  7. abenr

    abenr Senior Member

    Scottsdale, AZ, USA
    English, USA
    I see that I'm in the minority, but I don't see anything wrong with either sentence. The first, however, is the more common.
     
  8. Southern Paul New Member

    English - Australian
    Hi AskLang

    The reason for the negative is that the purpose of the phrase is to show how strongly you agree with someone. In fact, you agree with them so strongly that it would not be physically possible for you to agree any more strongly with them. Does this help?
     
  9. AskLang Senior Member

    Manila
    Filipino
    Can you give more explanation? :confused:
     
  10. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    Mandarin
    If you fully agree with a person 100%, that means you can never go over 100%, like 101% or 110%. 'I couldn't agree with you more' is just like that, meaning 'you agree with him to the maximum, which is 100%, and can't possibly be more than that.'
     
  11. AskLang Senior Member

    Manila
    Filipino
    Thank you jia, everyone! :)
     
  12. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    "I could agree with you more": I don't fully agree with you. I agree with you eighty per cent, perhaps. I agree with you to a point. In practice, people rarely say "I could agree with you more."

    "I couldn't agree with you more": It is impossible for me to agree with you more because I agree with you one hundred per cent.
     
  13. Southern Paul New Member

    English - Australian
    ok - here is a story that might make the idea of 'not being able to do something any more' clearer.

    Imagine you ask me for a large drink of water. I fill up a glass all the way to the top with water. I bring the water to you and say 'it certainly is a large drink - in fact I couldn't have filled the glass any more.'

    I'm making the point that I have filled the glass as much as I possibly can.

    Well this is the same thing but just using 'agreement' rather than 'filling a glass with water.'

    I might say to you 'the government should make Friday part of the weekend.' You may be so passionately in agreement with this statement that you want to emphasise this to me so you say 'I couldn't agree with you more'. Think of the water - your agreement has filled up all available space and is as total as it can be.

    Hope this helps
     
  14. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Perhaps you're used to hearing the egregious mistake *"I could care less"* which is intended to mean, more or less, "It doesn't matter to me at all." The proper way of expressing that idea is to say "I could not (couldn't) care less." That would lead you to think that "I could agree more with you" is an affirmation rather than a denial of complete agreement.
     

Share This Page