English Sentence Starter: “I Can See Where You’re Coming From”

By Robby

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Video Transcript Below:

Hi my friends. Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog. In today’s video we’re going to look at the following sentence starter / disagreement… a phrase, basically a phrase that you can use to disagree, right?

And the phrase in question is: “I can see where you’re coming from on this but…” or there could be a few variations of the same phrase. “I can definitely see where are you’re coming from. However, I think that and so on and so forth.” But basically the main structure, the basic structure of the phrase is comprised of the words, “I can see where you’re coming from.”

And if you translate this sentence quite literally, you would think that I’m saying that I can see where you’re coming from, right? But in reality it’s got nothing to do with the person coming from somewhere. It’s basically got to do with what that person thinks. And then you’re telling them that you’re actually relating to their opinion, however, you are of quite the opposite opinion for example, right?

So basically it’s a great way of disagreeing with that person and providing your own opinion instead. But if you are really interested in how to use this phrase, let me just give you a few examples, but for that you will have to bear with me for a few moments and check back in a few seconds after this English idiomatic expression intro video!

So welcome back to Robby’s idiomatic expression video where we’re looking at the following English idiomatic expression, “Well, I can see where you’re coming from but…” so here’s the first example.

Just imagine that you are having a discussion with your work colleague for example. Why am I choosing work colleague? Well, to be honest with you, I believe that most of you guys are actually working and not that many of you would be going to college, so that’s why I’m going with work as opposed to being a student for example, right?

And on top of that that’s something that I can relate to because I’ve been working for the last number of years. And what matters is that now I’m in college but basically what I’m saying is I’m in my mid 30’s, late 30’s now and the college years, the real college years seem like a lifetime ago. So I’m mainly focusing on someone who works.

Anyway, you’re talking to your work colleague for example and that person is saying “Listen. Listen Gary” – assuming your name is Gary, right? “Listen Gary, I think that this new evening shift isn’t really working very well because people are more tired than normally when they start at the noon and then they have to stay until 7 or 8 o’clock in the evening. It’s not really working very well. So I want you to think of a different shift, using different hours, so that people would be better suited for that.”

And then you are saying to that person who is your supervisor obviously, you are responding to his suggestion by saying “All right Frank, I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this. However, I strongly believe that if we were to shift those hours back or forth, it’s going to be even worse for people, for the following reasons…” And then you give him a few reasons, right?

But basically this is a typical way of relating to that person because you don’t want to be telling them “Listen, I think you’re wrong.” You don’t want to be confronting that person outright, especially if they’re your superiors, if they’re your supervisor or your boss or whatever. In that case you want to kind of tell them that you can definitely see why they would say such a thing and then tell them that you don’t really agree with their opinion. So this was the first example sentence.

And let me just have a sip of my afternoon tea before I continue with the video. Oh, it’s delicious. It’s the Irish or the British style, if you want; black tea with sugar and milk. I really love it! I would never drink such a tea before coming to Ireland but now that I’ve been living here for a good number of years, I’ve come to love it to be honest with you guys. So cheers!

Okay. Now, let’s move on to the second example and as you may know, I don’t have these example sentences in front of me. I would just brainstorm them on the spot basically, on the go. Because that’s the way I roll my friends.

Now, what would be the second example of using this sentence starter “I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this.” You can use it actually in written communication as well. Nobody says that certain expressions are only for using in real life communication in your speech basically. You can use it when writing e-mails, when responding to somebody’s request for example or suggestion.

So this is probably something that I might have used in the past when responding to one of my customers’ suggestion basically. When they would say that they think the English Harmony system should include some scripts, some transcripts and then they would give their reasons for that and then I would respond to that “I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this but the thing is that the English Harmony system has been designed with the main goal in mind which is to improve your spoken fluency. And if I were to include a transcript with it, you would be reading which actually goes against the whole spoken fluency development thing. It goes against the English Harmony philosophy. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why I would never include a script, a transcript of the videos in with the product.”

Now, let me come up with the third example. Now, let me think. Say for instance, you’re discussing politics with a friend of yours. Okay? And as we all know currently in Europe there’s a huge refugee crisis, right? People from Middle-East, from countries such as Syria, Iraq and other countries are coming to Europe to seek refuge and to basically flee the war-torn countries that they reside in. And the thing is that the opinion differs. A lot of people are against that. A lot of people think that the borders should be shut and nobody should be allowed in, whereas others think quite the opposite and point out the humanitarian crisis aspects of the whole issue, right?

So let’s say for example, you are discussing this whole thing with your friend and then your friend says that he’s against giving asylum to those people or whatever and you are actually quite shocked about what he says because in your reckoning what he’s saying is very discriminatory to say the least. But you don’t want to come across as aggressive with him because you want to maintain the friendship obviously.

So you would tell him “Listen, I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this, right? But with all due respect” – which is another phrase you can use to start a sentence to disagree with all due respect and nobody says that you can’t use such phrases in conjunction, so you can use both. “I can definitely see where you’re coming from on this but with all due respect, I would strongly disagree with you for the simple reason that we are all human beings and everybody deserves the basic human rights basically, right?

So that was the third example on how we can use this particular sentence starter. And if you want to read more about more sentence starters, please check out this article where I’ve included 25 sentence starters that are quite popular and will come in handy in your daily English conversations and self-practice sessions as well. All right my friends?

So thanks for watching this video. Post any comments, any questions you have, post them in the comment section below. And I’ll chat to you soon.  Bye-bye!


P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • No problem, if you’ve any more questions – just let me know! 😉

  • Shwana

    Thanks Robby. Good job

  • Hi Shwana,

    I just responded to your question in a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwzcFHneBTY
    Hope you’ll enjoy watching it!

  • Shwana

    Hi Robby
    Thanks for this useful blog.
    I have got a question.
    I have been watching movies in order to improve my English. But at first it was difficult to understand. So I started watching just 10 minutes of a specific movie. During watching that 10 minutes (of course with English subtitles) I wrote every idiom and word that I didn’t know. Then using them In self-practice. After completing first 10 minutes. I will do the same in next 10 minutes. Is that method good or bad? May I stop it? Do you have better method?