Agree or approve?


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.

asked Jun 17 '13 at 12:53 Hans Contributor

2 answers


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

add comment

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

Your answer

Write at least 20 characters

Have a question about English grammar, style or vocabulary use? Ask now to get help from Grammarly experts for FREE.