Challenging someone's ideas

In this video, Vanya tells Paul and Emir about her latest idea. Listen to the language they use for challenging someone's ideas and practise saying the useful phrases.

Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.


Ana: Hi! I'm Ana. Welcome to What to Say

Do you know what to say when you want to challenge someone's ideas? Listen out for useful language for challenging someone's ideas. Then, we'll practise saying the new phrases – after this.


Vanya: Guys! I've got it! I've figured it out!

Emir: Figured what out?

Paul: That it's polite to knock on the door before coming in? 

Vanya: This idea is just too good, Paul! It's too good!

Paul: Go on, then.

Vanya: So! Cats!

Emir: I'm a bit lost. What are you talking about?

Vanya: Videos. Cat videos! For our social media account. Hundreds of them. Everyone loves cats! 

Paul: I hate cats.

Vanya: Everyone except you, Paul.

Paul: Have you considered the fact that we're a branding agency, not a pet shop?

Vanya: I take your point, Paul, but, come on, be imaginative! Cat videos are some of the most searched videos on the internet.

Emir: I see where you're coming from, Vanya, but I think I agree with Paul here. How is this relevant for a branding agency?

Vanya: Look. Social media, it's a numbers game. If we share dozens of cat videos each day, then we get more followers. 

Emir: That's true. So how exactly do you see this working? I mean, who's going to find all these videos?

Vanya: Erm, OK, I'm very aware of the challenges here, but I'm convinced this is going to work.

Paul: I'm not so sure.

Emir: Well, I guess you have to look at it from both sides. Why don't we try it for a couple of weeks and see if there's any impact?

Vanya: Great! We are going to get so many more followers. I'm absolutely positive! 

Paul: Good luck with that! I hope it doesn't turn out to be a cat-astrophe ... What? ... It's a good joke.


Ana: Hello again! Well, I thought that was a good joke! So, did you notice the useful phrases used for challenging someone's ideas? Listen to me and then repeat. 


I'm a bit lost. What are you talking about?

Have you considered the fact that we're a branding agency, not a pet shop?

I take your point, but be imaginative. 

I see where you're coming from.

I think I agree with Paul here.

How exactly do you see this working?

I'm very aware of the challenges here, but I'm convinced this will work. 

You have to look at it from both sides.


Ana: Try and use some of these phrases the next time you want to challenge someone's ideas in English. Bye for now! 

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Worksheet117.83 KB

Language level

Submitted by LamVanPhuong on Tue, 26/10/2021 - 13:14


oh i think not because i am not sure about my unusual ideas.

Submitted by 46adrian46 on Tue, 19/10/2021 - 19:16


No I never did that because I never worked in a big company and usually smalls companies don't listen new ideas

Submitted by Sam_Wong888 on Sun, 17/10/2021 - 14:19


It depends on a company culture. Some people are not open to new ideas.

Submitted by gdinunzio on Sun, 05/09/2021 - 10:44

I'm a technician so there is not room for unusual idea often. In fact, most of the time I put well engineered ideas at work.

Submitted by coduor on Fri, 25/06/2021 - 17:21

No, I have not tried but i will try in the near future.

Submitted by GiulianaAndy on Thu, 24/06/2021 - 18:57

No, I haven't tried different ideas at work. However, I tried different ideas with my work team from university. I remember once when a girl, who was in my work team, proposed a weird, but at the same time different idea for the project. Everyone got shocked, and then we thought deeply about that idea, and finally we added it to the project, and we got a really remarkable grade on the project

Submitted by Sofia Sandoval on Thu, 15/04/2021 - 03:47

Normally, I suggest improving ideas for teamworks, but im feeling very down, so I guess I will try and listen to my co-workers, everything in order to keep my grades up.

Submitted by Eidrian on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 02:49

I have tried to come up with some new ideas in my job. Sometimes, the team agrees with me but in other times, they say that it is a bad idea(not a good idea) and that it won't work.

Submitted by TharHtoo on Tue, 09/02/2021 - 10:34

Some of them like my idea when I first talk then one don't agree with my point and all are suddenly change to the same side. What's happening this? How would you react that situation?
because at first most of them are not sure about that but they said yes may be because they don't want to oppose your idea or they don't want to work or give idea as they just want easy way. But when there's someone who oppose your idea, they will agree with him. I have also experienced like this before. As for me, I ask them what points do i need or do i have to change. When their idea is better, i change or add some points and so all agree with this.

Submitted by German on Wed, 03/02/2021 - 02:05

I have tried unusual things at work. Sometimes I like to do new things and new forms for to do better my work.

Submitted by kawa on Thu, 21/01/2021 - 14:42

I have always many new ideas, however, every time whenever you try to present your ideas, you would see there is someone who is against those ideas. Those people even don't try to explain the reason for his/her objection. this means that those people just don't agree with you as they got used to doing it, and are mentally not fit.

Submitted by Mustafa Ghreiri on Sat, 16/01/2021 - 11:55

Challenging some ones idea sometimes is too hard, you need to go deeper and understand how is he think, maybe by asking too much questions, and you need to have some communication skills also. Still, it's a hard mission!

Submitted by Joesph on Fri, 08/01/2021 - 14:07

New ideas usually it will reject in the first moment from the receiver, But to convince them you need to have personal skills in the persuasion. To accepting your ideas from others you should aware of all details to answer all queries and to explain the positive impact from it.

Submitted by Hennadii on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 17:33

It hard to use unusual ideas when you are working in the construction)) Most of my work connected with engineering and building so I have always to trace the building norms so I haven't many opportunities to use my imagination and creativity. Of course, there are always some challenging tasks where you need to think irregularly and have a risk but it isn't a common situation.

Submitted by Ebiyousef on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 11:47

Brainstorm is one of good things for co-workers at office becuse help them find new ideas and solutions. Sometimes we did like these guys and discussed about ideas.

Submitted by Lola Bernal on Sat, 26/12/2020 - 12:24

yes, I've tried to implement new ideas that didn't work out at the moment but were considered enthusiastically later on

Submitted by YewandeAdeosun on Fri, 25/12/2020 - 19:12

Yes I have. I tried introducing some ideas via proposals and they are being considered

Submitted by Dealibralon on Mon, 21/12/2020 - 11:42

yes, I have had a proposal to make a short video from each person of the departments to present them at the Christmas party office. My boss took the point and tried to figure out how exactly it would work, but she was convinced it was a good idea at last.

Submitted by fariba on Sun, 20/12/2020 - 10:26

yes, i propose a new idea but don't imply.

Submitted by Said ALRaisi on Sun, 20/12/2020 - 06:14

Yes, I challenges my leader idea sometime.

Submitted by iamloïs on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 08:04

Yes, with my class, we did the secret santa-clauss. For Christmas, we drew a paper where someone's name was written on it, and we had to give him a gift. So, everyobdy had to give a gift and everybody will receive one.

Submitted by mamomamo on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 11:35

yes, I tried this before in our proposal to the manager and his team.

Submitted by Momocompanyman on Sun, 08/11/2020 - 09:35

Yes, I try to presuade my flatmate to change the way that she store the vegetable in the fridge for keep it fresh.

Submitted by Patrick Ako on Fri, 06/11/2020 - 18:06

yes I did but most of the time, my supervisor didn't agree when I suggest to do some works in another way. I don't thing that my ideas are always bad.

Submitted by Elbay on Thu, 29/10/2020 - 15:56

That joke was just "CATASTROPHIC"

Submitted by ARMANDORTIZ on Wed, 28/10/2020 - 02:27

Sure!!! at least once per month!, but it´s seems my boss doesn´t want to take in consideration or implement them!

Submitted by abudo93 on Mon, 26/10/2020 - 18:29

Yes, I'm tried, but most of time they weren't convinced.

Submitted by fahri on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 02:06

Dear team. From the lesson above. Paul: Good luck with that! I hope it doesn't turn out to be a cat-astrophe ... What? ... It's a good joke.  the questions: 1. What's that mean 'astrophe' ?? ( The word is not in the dictionary). 2. What's kind of joke ??? I didn't find anything funny in this video. Thank you very much for your answer.

Hello fahri,

I'd suggest you look up the word 'catastrophe'. Paul is referring to 'cats', which is not really etymologically related to the word 'catastrophe'. Does that make sense?

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Yes it does. Make sense and funny. Thank you sir
Hi, In spanish the joke makes sense.. cat = gato astrophe = sounds similar catastrofe

Submitted by TadyEriel on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 14:04

Have you ever tried any unusual ideas at work? Well,I'm not sure if it was unusual, but once i suggested to pay some money as a penalty, because, at my work we used a two way radio for comunication, and most of the time we didn't answer, therefore, they said "Have you considered the fact that the signal has interference?"and I said yeah, "I take your point, but be imaginative, we can use that money in many ways, specially at parties. Furthermore, "I'm convinced this will help us to be alert". At the end i had to pay too. And, I guess, we spent the money in alchohol.

Submitted by Sulagna Das on Thu, 08/10/2020 - 17:43

I have tried to bring together my colleagues to teach the underprivileged children on weekends. Many were interested but we couldn't take it forward due to covid situation.

Submitted by danisep on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 22:45

Never, but I think that crazy ideas sometimes change things to the best, sometimes we cannot see beyond and people with innovative ideas show us interesting and challenging concepts.

Submitted by Benaz on Wed, 23/09/2020 - 22:14

Yes I have. It was not convincing initially because it was different from my usual methods and I didn't think it would work. However, it did eventually and that happened because I was open to something new.

Submitted by cittàutopica on Wed, 23/09/2020 - 18:40

Yes, I have tried an unusual idea at work, when I organized the first fair of guidance counseling in my region: I invited a graphologist for analysing the writing of students in relation to their characteristics; this innovation achieved resounding success. It's a usual right now, but it was a very new arrival a lot of years ago.

Submitted by selenozbek on Fri, 04/09/2020 - 13:02

I am very open-minded at this point, but I have never tried unusual ideas at work because of companies doesn't ready

Submitted by Asina9 on Sat, 29/08/2020 - 12:23

But sometimes new ideas could be devastating and end in failure..All new ideas does not lead to success..

Submitted by Betty Corado on Thu, 27/08/2020 - 19:11

In my last job, we used to do a Food Friday, just like the story, some coworkers brought food for their homes and share with the rest of the team, each of us had to brought something different, for have a full menu, this was for breakfast, was fun, but not all the time, sometimes was difficult to coordinate everyone, some people eat more than other y that was not good.

Submitted by Asni on Wed, 26/08/2020 - 23:05

My mother is used to come up with unusual ideas, she is very imaginative, she also likes challenges and adventures. What amazes and impresses me is that she never gives up, when she has an idea, no matter how challenging it is, she thinks about it, discusses it with some trustworthy people and if she arrives at the conclusion that it is worth a try, then she decides on going ahead. When I'm concerned by that idea, I don't hesitate to give it a try, because she is a very wise woman, and I trust her a lot. She's is very experienced either professionnally or socially,

Submitted by Alejo on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 13:50

Of course. Trying new ideas keep us active and eager to get more from our live, work and relationships. If not, everything becomes so boring that in a short period of time, we´ll become sad people. If it works, you get a credit. If it fail, you get a new oportunity to learn something new to do it better next. Living that way, is amazing.!

Submitted by M19 on Tue, 21/07/2020 - 14:40

Of course!Things had begun to deteriorate, so it was quite necessary to implement one. It brought marked improvement in the first quarter of the year as there were no cases of accidents reported.

Submitted by Mariacha on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 11:58

No I never try any unsual idea at work.

Submitted by Shahlo on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 12:28

Yes you are right it is really joke. l sometimes meet this type of unusual ideas from my colleagues. At the moment l agree to Paul's idea because it's not pet brend