18 Phrases That Will Make You Sound Classy and Intelligent

18 Phrases That Will Make You Sound Classy and Intelligent

You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to come off as intelligent and classy. All you have to do is know how to portray yourself to the people you interact with, and that largely comes down to how you speak. If you want people to think you’re waiting on your invite to Mensa, pepper some of these phrases into your conversations.

1. “I see your point, and I raise you this…”

two friends walking outside in city

This phrase is a respectful and intelligent way of disagreeing with someone or presenting a counter-argument. It shows that you’ve understood their point and have thoughtfully considered a different perspective that you want them to hear you out on. Harvard’s calling — they want to give you an honorary degree!

2. “Let’s look at this from a different angle…”

Saying something along these lines suggests that you’re open to different perspectives and that you’re willing to explore a problem from various viewpoints. After all, you value critical thinking and are open to having a constructive conversation in which everyone feels heard. Only when all angles are considered can a good decision be made.

3. “I concur with your sentiments…”

This is a classy way of saying that you agree with someone. Using the word “concur” instead of “agree” adds a touch of sophistication to your language. It might be a little silly if you’re throwing this in on beer night with the guys or when your best friend says she loves the balayage her stylist gave her at the salon this time, so use wisely!

4. “That’s an astute observation…”

Praising someone else’s insight with this phrase not only shows your appreciation for their thoughts but also demonstrates your own understanding of the topic at hand. That being said, you’ll need to be able to follow this one up with some more “astute observations” of your own or it may end up falling flat.

5. “Could you elaborate on that point?”

This is another way of saying that you really don’t know what in the h-e-double hockey sticks they’re talking about and need them to explain a bit more. Asking for clarification or more information shows that you’re actively listening and interested in understanding the person’s perspective. It also shows that you’re here for deep conversations, which is a hallmark of intelligent and classy people.

6. “I appreciate your perspective…”

This phrase is a respectful way to acknowledge someone else’s opinion, even if you may not agree with it. It shows that you value diversity of thought and are respectful in your interactions. You just need to make sure you get the tone right here or this one could come off as sarcastic and disingenuous.

7. “I’ve been contemplating…”

Using this bad boy before sharing your thoughts shows that you’ve spent time considering the subject. It proves your reflective nature and your habit of thinking deeply about stuff so that you can understand it better and maybe even gain some unique insights to share with other people.

8. “In light of this evidence…”

I know this is a bit ADA Alexandra Cabot (or District Attorney Jack McCoy, your choice) from “SVU,” but it shows that you base your conclusions on evidence and facts rather than preconceived judgments or biases, which is a key characteristic of intelligent conversation. It also shows your ability to adapt your POV when presented with new information. You’re not too stubborn to evolve your beliefs!

9. “Let’s explore this further…”

This one suggests that you’re open to deep dives and that you’re not satisfied with surface-level understanding. It shows your intellectual curiosity and your commitment to thorough examination of a topic. Obviously, you should only use this one if you do actually care about what’s being discussed. Otherwise, you’re in for a pretty boring time.

10. “That’s a compelling argument…”

Acknowledging the strength of someone else’s argument shows exceptional humility and the ability to appreciate good reasoning. It presents you as someone who values logic and rationality rather than pettiness and an insistence on being right. You can hear other people out and hold your hands up when you’re wrong, and that takes guts.

11. “I’d like to draw your attention to…”

two women chatting at cafe

This one is a fancy way to bring focus to a particular point or issue when someone is ignoring it or refuses to confront it. It shows that you feel the issue is important and that they need to be paying more attention to it, whether because it needs further discussion or it presents a better way of dealing with a particular issue.

12. “I’ve read recently that…”

colleagues on their phones

Uh oh, someone’s got a library card! Referencing stuff that you’ve read lately shows that you keep yourself updated and engage with various sources of information. This will make you come across as well-read and informed, so long as you’re not just referring to DeuxMoi or your favorite Reddit sub.

13. “Let’s dissect this issue…”

Admittedly, this may be a little bit obnoxious if you use it in the wrong setting, but if thrown out there at the ideal time, it shows that you’re willing to dive deeper than surface level so you can understand the complexities and nuances of the issue(s) at hand. This makes you smart, classy, and also a great conversationalist.

14. “Permit me to play devil’s advocate for a moment…”

young couple chatting on street

Presenting an opposing viewpoint for the sake of argument demonstrates that you’re considering all aspects of an issue. It shows that you’re capable of thinking critically and challenging assumptions. Just make sure you don’t become so addicted to being contrary that you start becoming more annoying than insightful.

15. “This aligns with my understanding that…”

Multi-ethnic group of smiling young people talking outdoors in the city

This phrase allows you to assert your knowledge without coming off as arrogant. It’s a subtle way of saying, “Yeah, I already knew that, so that’s cool” without being quite as insufferable. Instead, it just makes you seem super knowledgable and tuned-in even though others are just catching on.

16. “I find this topic fascinating because…”

Diverse employees chatting during coffee break, walking in modern office, Asian businesswoman wearing glasses sharing ideas, discussing project with colleague, having pleasant conversation

Expressing interest in a particular topic and explaining why it intrigues you shows intellectual curiosity and passion. This can make conversations way more engaging and show others that you’re not afraid to share your enthusiasm for learning. People love engaging with others who are excited about something — that energy is contagious!

17. “It would be prudent to…”

Using this phrase to suggest a course of action indicates that you’ve considered all the potential outcomes and have weighed the costs and benefits to come to your decision. It also proves that you can think strategically and make sensible decisions, which gives people way more confidence in you and what you have to say.

18. “This echoes my sentiments exactly…”

Using this phrase to agree with someone shows that you share their viewpoint and understand where they’re coming from. It also adds a touch of elegance to your agreement that, “Well, yeah, duh!” kinda misses out on.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.