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What are the differences between "agree on", "agree with" and "agree to"?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The object is the difference.

  • When you agree with someone/something, it means you accept the point of someone/something.

    I agree with you.

    Matt does not agree with my answer.

  • You agree on some issue or point of debate.

    We agreed on this issue.

  • You agree to demands/queries, or you agree to do something.

    He agreed to my demands.

    He agreed to join me for the movie.

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4  
I don't agree with this answer. (courtesy of Have Fun Slower) –  Matt Эллен Jul 6 '12 at 9:37
    
Actually, you don't "have to agree with some person or group." -- that's both sarcastically and linguistically wrong. –  Chris Jul 6 '12 at 11:31
    
Point taken, edited. Thanks! –  Bravo Jul 6 '12 at 12:53

When two or more people agree on something, it means they have the same opinion about something being discussed. To agree with someone is to share a point of view with him/her, and to agree with an idea or proposal is to accept it and to believe that it's valid. Example use that includes both prepositions: "He agreed with you on whether we should or shouldn't increase the salary."

You use "agree to" to imply that a request was made and that the person towards whom the request was directed responded positively to that request -- i.e., he/she agreed to do whatever the requester was asking him to do. Example: "She agreed to be my prom date." (There are other, more slang and common phrasings to talk about proms, though.)

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You don't have to "agree with" someone else, you can also agree with an idea or an action. "I agree with plan to repaint the school". –  ljj101 Jul 6 '12 at 10:42
    
@ljj101 Indeed, thanks for pointing that out. –  Chris Jul 6 '12 at 10:47
    
@ljj101 Corrected. Thanks again! –  Chris Jul 6 '12 at 10:53

A quote from "A valency dictionary of English" (Herbst et al. 2004: 25), with some modifications:

A. Agree can mean 'be of the same opinion'

(i) People can agree on or about a particular topic or issue.

(ii) A person can agree with another person on or about a particular topic or issue.

(iii) A person can agree that something is the case.

B. Agree can mean 'consent'.

(i) A person or organisation can agree to or with something suggested.

(ii) A person or organisation can agree to do something suggested.

C. If two statements or versions of something agree, they are the same; if figures or calculations agree, they show the same result. Grammatical categories also agree, i.e. correspond in number etc.

D. Agree can mean 'come to a common conclusion'.

(i) People can agree some course of action, i.e. decide upon it.

(ii) People can agree on something as the result of a discussion.

(iii) People can agree to do something.

E. If something such as food or the climate does not agree with a person, it causes them problems.

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