Language patterns: Looking at both sides of the argument

Weighing up both sides of the argument (Image: Pixabay)

When native speakers are talking about a topic they often use phrases and language patterns which balance two ideas against each other. Here’s an example:

Look, I like your ideas about introducing the new working practices, but I’m just not sure that now is the right time to do it.

This type of sentence contains two ideas which are separated by a word like but, however, and, so, nonetheless, although, etc, or a whole phrase that contains one of these words.

Quite often the speaker makes one statement in order to modify or cancel it with the following one:

Mark’s done really well in motivating the team, but motivation is not enough. We need a strategy that works.

You can also introduce the first idea using a phrase like while it’s true that or given the current situation:

While it is true that Sofia has a lot of experience in statistical analysis, she isn’t actually a Big Data expert.

Given the current situation, it’s not going to be effective if we launch the product as it is. We need to do more research.

The first part of the sentence can also be diplomatic or conciliatory, but followed by a more negative remark:

Look, I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the situation you’re in, but our department just doesn’t have the resources to implement this type of change. You need to speak to the CEO.

Another expression you can use when you’re speaking is on the one hand… on the other (hand):

OK, on the one hand Baxter’s are our most important customer and we don’t want to do anything to upset them, but on the other hand, we’ve been giving them an enormous discount, so maybe it’s time to  ask them to pay a bit more.

If the sentence is quite short you can drop (not use) the word hand and just say on the other:

On the one hand, I love Ambra’s proposal, but on the other, it’s not really feasible, is it?

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