Agree or approve?

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I would like to hear from experts here about the two words approve and agree. I think that according to Cambridge dictionary, the two words could be used interchangeably for the same meaning and to approve something, people usually should agree first although not all the time, so I still think the two words can be synonym. What do you experts think?

 

Thank you so much as usual.

 

 http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/approve_2

asked Jun 17 '13 at 12:53 Hans Contributor

3 answers


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Both words can mean to give consent.  In this sense, they are indeed synonymous.  There is a bit of difference.  We usually agree with someone or to something.  We approve of something.

 

We don’t always have to approve to agree.

 

I agree with Dad, you may not go to the movies. 

 

Sometimes we say “I agree to disagree.”  That is used when you are in the middle of an argument and realize that no one will be swayed to the other side.  Continuing the argument is pointless.

link answered Jun 17 '13 at 16:27 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you so much and are you sure of the sentence We don’t always have to approve to agree or did you intend to mean We don’t always have to agree to approve? Anyhow, the two words can be used the same and sometimes not, right? Thank you.

HansJun 18 '13 at 09:26

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An interesting question.   Originally, "agree" and "approve"  were always followed by prepositions.  The difference between "agree with" and "approve of" was (and still is) perhaps subtle but readily understood:  "agree with" refers to parties having the same view, amounts reconciling, etc;  but "approve of" suggests that one party is in a position of authority (parent/ teacher/judge etc)  in relation to the other.   The examples given by Patty are good.

 

However, somewhere in the first half of the 20th century, (as identified by Sir Ernest Gowers in his  1948 classic, Plain Speaking) these words came to be used without prepositions.     Since then,    "the President agreed the budget" and "the President approved the budget"  have become synonymous.   But the original usages, with prepositions, still survive.  

 

If this is still unclear,  just remember that even if the President approved of the budget, he didn't necessarily approve/agree it!   Hope that helps.

link answered Jun 17 '13 at 17:47 Michael Cranfield Expert

I have to say that I have never heard anyone say something like "the President agreed the budget." It sounds completely foreign to me.

Patty TJun 18 '13 at 03:45

And yet, as I have already explained, there is cast-iron evidence that the construction has been in common use for more than 60 years (and seems to growing in popularity). It just goes to show that, even though a phrase is grammatically correct, it will not necessarily sound "right" to everyone.

Michael CranfieldJun 18 '13 at 08:57

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When you approve something you give a green signal (go ahead sign) to something that requires your consent.

Eg: The Principal approved the request of children to go for a tour.( especially requests in writings)

 

When you agree with someone about something, you both have the same opinion about it.

Eg: I agree agree your point of view on modern education

 

You may agree to many things what others say; but you'll approve a thing  what you think is right and within you authority (act) to do.

link comment answered Jun 17 '13 at 16:36 subbu New member

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