Disagree With a Subordinate, a Superior, or a Person In Authority | Letter-Writing Guide


Since you probably want to resolve a problem rather than simply disagree, avoid making accusations. It is best to state the issue clearly, explain why you disagree with the proposed course of action, and make your recommendation. Keep the tone respectful.


1. State your disagreement.

  • For the record, I would like to make clear my opposition to the proposed consolidation of the support division.
  • I received your letter opposing the consolidation of the Doe and Johnson Divisions. Despite the problems you identified with such a move at this time, we believe we should go ahead with the plan.
  • On Friday, October 23, my son Eric was given a two-week suspension for failing to walk his bike on the crosswalk in front of the school. I feel the penalty was excessive.
  • I know you were eager to have your friend John Doe come on board for the marketing position, but we have decided on another candidate.
  • I would like to make it clear for the record that I am adamantly opposed to Doe's proposed development within the Springfield Creek Aquifer. I understand this decision was made while I was out of town last week. I consider it to be hasty and unwise.
  • after careful consideration of
  • after studying the
  • am aware that
  • am adamantly opposed to
  • am very concerned about
  • am aware of the rationale for
  • believe that we should
  • don't agree with
  • even though I understand
  • express my concerns
  • feel it important to
  • for the record
  • have you considered
  • in spite of the
  • must state my
  • my disagreement with
  • my opposition to
  • object to
  • understand that you
  • want to let you know
  • would like to express

2. Explain your reasons for disagreeing.

  • I firmly believe that five years from now will be a better time to consolidate. By that time attrition due to retirement will allow us to consolidate with fewer lay-offs, and the new Doe Building will be finished, allowing us to move in immediately.
  • We studied your objections carefully and found that the degree of attrition and the cost of moving will be minimal. It is to our advantage to consolidate now.
  • My son and several of his classmates at the crosswalk agree that another student with a jacket similar to my son's rode across the crosswalk while my son walked across in compliance with the rules. Even if he had been guilty, the offense hardly warrants a two-week suspension.
  • I am sure John would have done a good job, but the person we hired has exceptional qualifications supported by five years of successful experience. The hiring committee couldn't ignore the evidence that she was the best choice.
  • Many properties we are reviewing for development are far less controversial. The Springfield Aquifer is very important to the local environmental community, and they would muster a lot of opposition to such a project. I don't think we are in a position to get involved in such a controversy.
  • am not satisfied that
  • an important decision
  • certainly has merit
  • decision that merits more
  • doesn't make sense to
  • firmly believe that
  • hardly warrants such
  • have studied your
  • have you considered
  • is my understanding that
  • looks good on paper
  • more appropriate way to
  • my rationale for
  • should not lose sight of
  • should also be considered
  • the repercussions of
  • while I am not opposed to
  • will allow us to
  • would be to our advantage
  • would be more efficient

3. Explain any course of action that you deem appropriate at this point.

  • I would like an opportunity to present a counter-proposal before acting on this matter.
  • We too are concerned about the people who will lose their jobs. Arrangements are underway to work out an early retirement for as many as possible.
  • I think it is important to withhold judgment on this matter until we can meet to discuss the entire policy. I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience. Perhaps others would also like to have some input.
  • I believe you will agree after you have had a chance to work with her. Another position opening in January more closely matches John's qualifications. We will keep his file on hand for consideration then.
  • I suggest that we table this matter until we can consider all the ramifications.
  • am also concerned about
  • assess the situation
  • at your earliest convenience
  • before taking further action
  • can reach agreement
  • if you would
  • is important to
  • need more input from
  • need to meet to discuss
  • need to act soon
  • request that you
  • seems to be time to
  • study the enclosed
  • support this decision
  • table this matter
  • take into consideration
  • time to reassess
  • to be given the opportunity to
  • warrants further study
  • withhold judgment on
  • would like you to
  • would only be fair to
  • would appreciate being included

4. End by expressing your trust or confidence in your reader.

  • However, if a final decision has already been made, I will abide by it and devote my full energies to its implementation. Thank you for considering my concerns.
  • Your letter showed an appreciated thoughtfulness and concern for the company. Your suggestions are always welcome. We look forward to working with you on this project.
  • I would like to meet at your earliest convenience. Please let me know when that would be. My number is 555-5555.
  • Thank you for your understanding in this matter; we are sorry it did not work out.
  • I am sure that after more research, we will be in a better position to make a good decision.
  • am sure that
  • am confident that
  • appreciate your
  • best interests of the
  • cannot reconcile myself to
  • get the job done
  • in a better position to
  • let me know
  • look forward to
  • mutually agreed on decision
  • paying attention to
  • taking the time to
  • thank you for
  • to our best advantage
  • trust that you
  • will do my best to
  • will support the final decision
  • will abide by
  • would like to meet with
  • your consideration of
  • your understanding in this matter

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