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! 

Do you need to improve your English speaking skills?
Join thousands of learners from around the world who are improving their English speaking skills with our live online classes and personal tutoring courses.


Worksheet117.83 KB

Language level

B2 English level (upper intermediate)

Submitted by Nandar Su Hlaing on Mon, 15/08/2022 - 08:20


No, Normally I haven't tried any unusual idea at work but I always try to use explore new idea and new challenges. That is quite interesting for me and I love that result being use new idea.

Submitted by meknini on Sat, 16/07/2022 - 08:51


Not really as we usually recycle the old ideas and most wouldn't want to try anything new anyway as they might not work out and some might not be too happy of the consequences so we chose to play safe and repeat what we did before since they're already proven successful. So, why take the risk?

Submitted by alexiamontes2004 on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 00:52


If on one occasion I showed them an idea of ​​a project where I told them that I wanted to implement a race to be able to raise money for a campaign for underprivileged children in Sinaloa and they liked it, that made me realize that I should show my ideas.

Submitted by sinara_sandri on Wed, 01/06/2022 - 23:42


Do the expressions "figure it out" and "get it" mean the same ?

Hello sinara_sandri,

Not quite. Both are connected with understanding something but there is a difference.

When you get something it means you understand it. It may be through your own thought processes or it may be because someone explained it to you.

When you figure something out (or work something out, which has the same meaning) you reach understanding through your own mental effort. We sometimes emphasise this by adding 'by myself' to the phrase: It's OK, there's no need to explain it. I've figured it out by myself.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,
What would you say if "I get It" was through personal effort. Like saying "Yes, I get it" after one figured it out".

Hello consults,

As I said in the previous answer, get it means to understand something. It can be through your own effort or by someone explaining it to you. How you came to understand it is not important; 'I get it' tells us only that you understand it.



The LearnEnglish Team

Really, these are very usefull phrases and increasing our stock English words, thanks. When I'm challenging some one's idea I realy feel the rarity of my phrases asnd words.

Submitted by Amr_Taha95 on Tue, 31/05/2022 - 14:37


I didn't get the joke

Hello Amr_Taha95,

The word 'catastrophe' (a bad situation or destructive event) actually has nothing to do with cats, but if you pronounce it like Paul does, it sounds as if it's Vanya's cat idea that could cause the 'cat-astrophe'.

Hope that helps.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by fahri on Fri, 13/05/2022 - 19:58


Dear team

What is does mean :

I see where you're coming from ?

Because emir doesn't talk about Vanya's country.

So, what's emir talk about?

Thank you very much for your answer

Hi fahri,

"I see where you're coming from" is an idiomatic expression. It means "I understand your point of view". :)


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user Silvia Lago

Submitted by Silvia Lago on Sat, 26/03/2022 - 18:13


Yes, I have already tried challenges in my house. And it is always positive because one challenge starts other. And then things will enhance.

Could you please talk a little more about it ? What were those ideas, and what was the best for you ?

Submitted by Abrarhussain on Wed, 02/03/2022 - 23:18


No, I have never tried any unusual ideas at my work.

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Sun, 06/02/2022 - 16:24


Yes, I'll take it, but I'm spending a considerable amount of time thinking about what to do before the final comes to the decision. Whenever I feel that this is the best idea to build the business. I'll try to do it without wasting my time. It is frequently difficult to make my own decisions. Sometimes I help my friend. He good advises me.

Submitted by Mi.m.ferreira on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 19:50


No... I think bosses don't like meddling, but sometimes they miss a good idea!

Submitted by shakra10 on Tue, 11/01/2022 - 13:19


Really it is a method can adopt with new technology work, learning English less than six months at your work, home.
I liked it this kind of performance. Keep going as well as we are classmates.

Submitted by ANOUAR on Tue, 28/12/2021 - 14:15


Yes, and my collegue said that I'm crazy, but you know that every succesfull person's idea was considered a crazy idea at first.

Submitted by J0rge on Tue, 14/12/2021 - 13:10


Every time I try unusual ideas at work, my boss think they are too crazy, so I don't try too often

Submitted by hichem202008 on Sun, 12/12/2021 - 13:10


Yes i did last year . I told my team that we will build a new building and moving on because the old one is too smal and you can't work on it.

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.
Profile picture for user Hennadii

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.