Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the difference between agree and concur? Which is the more common to use? For instance, someone said something to me and I want to say that he is right. Should I say I agree with you or I concur with you?

share|improve this question

9 Answers 9

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Agree and concur mean the same thing in this context, but the latter is more formal. Both words may be used with or without with.

I agree.

I agree with you.

I concur.

I concur with you.

share|improve this answer
7  
I agree with you that usually they mean pretty much the same thing. However, concur indicates that the speaker came to the same conclusion on their own beforehand, whereas agree doesn't necessarily indicate that. –  TM. Nov 14 '11 at 23:59
    
Could we maybe say "concur with" is only not suited to a direct response to the statement that is concurred with? –  ProfK Nov 30 '12 at 18:27
1  
@JasperLoy Good point, it does not have to be 'before'. More accurate would be to say that the conclusion was reached independently. –  TM. Dec 17 '12 at 5:24

I usually see:

I agree with you. (most common)

I agree. (also common)

I concur. (not so common)

To say I concur with you. is awkward, but I'm not sure if it's technically wrong.

share|improve this answer
3  
I share your misgivings re I concur with you, but comparing agree and concur, it seems that although concur is less common overall, it's just as likely to be followed by with. –  FumbleFingers Nov 6 '11 at 2:23
    
Yeah I think you're right. M-W even lists it in their example: 2b : to express agreement <concur with an opinion> –  Lynn Nov 6 '11 at 20:09

As @Jasper says, the words mean pretty much the same thing. I suppose concur could be a little bit more "formal" than agree, in that it's not so well-known. But that's really just because it's "dated".

enter image description here

In answer to OP's specific question, use agree unless you want to sound stilted / pretentious. Whilst there's no grammatical reason why with you is any more "correct" after either verb, in terms of usage I suspect it may be omitted more often after concur. I suggest that purely because the brevity of I [verb] can carry "imperious" overtones, better suited to the more formal concur.

share|improve this answer
1  
Nice plot. Where does that come from? –  Isaac Nov 6 '11 at 8:52
2  
@Isaac it is a Google Ngram. –  Karl Knechtel Nov 6 '11 at 11:59
    
@Isaac: Sorry - I keep forgetting to include a link when I show an NGram chart. –  FumbleFingers Nov 6 '11 at 13:50

Concurring, I think, has the connotation that you are coming to agreement with a group consensus that is in the process of forming. In other words, the group is coalescing around a particular position, and you are helping that coalescence. Agreement is usually more directed towards a statement that someone else just made.

share|improve this answer
7  
I concur (but Stack Exchange requires me to add these unnecessary words). –  Barrie England Nov 6 '11 at 9:11

Reflecting on this, I think that concur describes a passive acquiescence, agree an active one. Imagine a meeting. The Chair says Are we in favour of what is proposed? This is followed by heads nodding wisely and a general murmuring suggesting that those present approve, that is, they 'go along with it', they concur.

Now imagine a different meeting. The Chair again says Are we in favour of what is proposed? One of those round the table says This is a bold initiative and we should give it our support.’ Another says I did have some reservations, but I can now see the advantages and you can rely on my vote. And so on. Individually and collectively, they agree.

share|improve this answer
    
Interesting explanation. Thank you. –  kirmir Nov 13 '11 at 11:06
    
@archer: There's the additional point that the syntactic role of the two verbs can vary. For example, 'We were all agreed' is a legitimate sentence, but 'We were all concurred' is not. –  Barrie England Nov 13 '11 at 11:28
    
I think it's completely the reverse. One can "agree" with something without saying anything at all or expressing it in any way. An agreement can be completely passive. One cannot "concur" unless one expresses that agreement. If nobody says or does anything in response, the Chair may say "I'll just assume you all agree", but he cannot say "I'll assume you all concur", since they didn't concur. –  David Schwartz Nov 14 '11 at 21:39
    
Perhaps there’s a transatlantic difference, then. In the British government department in which I once worked, those consulted on a proposal would write 'I concur', if they had no objections. I always took that to be something rather less than wholehearted support. Much the same goes for the word 'consensus'. –  Barrie England Nov 15 '11 at 9:25
    
@BarrieEngland Even if it's less than wholehearted support, concurring is more than simply agreeing. Agreeing can involve no action at all. Concurring requires one to actually do something. –  David Schwartz Nov 15 '11 at 17:18

My understanding is that concur has a connotation that the speaker had already formed an opinion (before hearing the opinion of the other party), and that those two opinions are in agreement.

On the other hand, agree does not carry any such connotation. In other words, the speaker may or may not have had an opinion before hearing the one that they are agreeing with.

share|improve this answer

It would be odd to say "I concur with you" because concur, coming from the Latin root con (together or with) and the verb currere (to run), is literally "run with". Accompaniment is implied.

share|improve this answer
3  
"accompaniment" as in "being with someone"? I don't think so. It would indeed be odd to use "concur" in this context but only because of its formality, not because of a difference in meaning. When speaking we use "agree" more often. –  Irene Nov 5 '11 at 23:16

I agree. I would only use concur in the sense of saying that two things concur: the meetings run concurrently, for example, or these number concur. I personally would not say I concur for I agree unless I was using it ironically.

share|improve this answer

To concur is to express agreement.

Although there's significant overlap and it's almost never wrong to use one instead of the other, there is a subtle difference. If you concur with someone, you express the same view they do. Agreeing can be just a state are in, one of holding the same view as someone else. Concurring is an act you perform, the act of expressing agreement with another's view.

While "agree" is certainly sometimes used to express the act of agreeing, "concur" is almost never used to express the state of agreement. For example, if a board of directors gets together and all of them think closing the company is best but they haven't discussed it yet, you could say: "Though they hadn't discussed it, they all agreed that closing the company would be best." But you would not say: "Though they hadn't yet discussed it, they concurred that the best option was to close the company." You can say "they would soon concur".

share|improve this answer

protected by RegDwigнt Dec 17 '12 at 22:04

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.