CAE Speaking Tips : Agreeing

When you are taking the CAE – C1 exam or the CPE C2 exam, you will want to remember these CAE Speaking Tips: Agreeing. It’s true that you cannot memorize things for the exam and you shouldn’t! BUT… start getting comfortable with these expressions. Stop saying ‘I agree’ to everything. As native speakers, we usually use different expressions to show that we agree and we say them quite exaggeratively too, because let’s face it – we like to exaggerate.

How to agree as a native speaker

We are not a syllable based language as Spanish is, so not every word gets treated the same when it comes to pronunciation. To show emphasis in the words below, I will put them in CAPITAL letters. These are the words that we say louder and slower than we do the other words.

Stressing the intensifier

  • In English we almost ALWAYS stress our intensifiers. This strengthens our comments.
  • Remember, to sound like a native, you can’t just say the words, you need to say them with the right intonation, speed, stress, etc. or else it doesn’t sound right.
    • That’s SO true
    • You’re SO right
    • I TOTALLY agree
    • You’re ABSOLUTELY right

Intonation tips for agreeing

  • Another important point is the intonation. If I change my intonation than the phrase can take on a whole new meaning. This is true in Spanish as well, you just might not even pay attention to it.

I never THOUGHT of it that way

  • By stressing thought and going up in my intonation at thought of it that way, I show that it was a good idea.
  • Another point – we usually link the three words Thought of it to make one word – thoughtofit.

I never thought of it THAT way

  • If I stress the word THAT in this phrase, what I am expressing is that I never thought it and probably won’t ever think of it that way. What a silly way to think about something.
  • You are not showing agreeing but disagreement and not in a friendly way.

I couldn’t agree more

  • I COULDN’T agree more is the standard way of pronouncing this phrase, stressing couldn’t.
  • Although it sounds negative, it is definitely positive.

Great minds think alike

  • This a common and funny expression to use which says you and the person you are talking too are clever and have ‘great minds’. So, make sure you smile when you say this to get the right effect and show that you are making a small joke.
  • The words are all stressed – GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE although the intonation goes up toward the end.

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