The fixed expressions “you must admit” and “I must admit” are both used to introduce a statement that the speaker believes is true, but that they may not want to say or admit outright. They can be used to express a variety of emotions, such as reluctance, guilt, or surprise.
- “You must admit” is generally used when the speaker is trying to convince the listener to agree with them. For example, you might say “You must admit, he’s a pretty good actor.” This is a way of saying that you think the listener should agree with you, even if they don’t want to.
- “I must admit” is generally used when the speaker is acknowledging something that they may not want to admit. For example, you might say “I must admit, I was wrong about that.” This is a way of saying that you were wrong about something, even though you don’t like to admit it.
In both cases, the use of these fixed expressions softens the blow of the statement that follows. It shows that the speaker is not trying to be aggressive or confrontational, but is simply stating their opinion.
In the English Grammar Profile, B2 point 165 in the category of MODALITY is defined as:
the fixed expression ‘I must admit’ or ‘you must admit’ to express concession.
agree that something is true, especially unwillingly
‘you’ is much rarer than ‘I’ in this structure.
When we search on iWeb for Ngrams:
1 YOU MUST ADMIT THAT THERE IS A 5
2 YOU MUST ADMIT THAT YOU ARE A 5
1 I MUST ADMIT THAT I WAS A 1142 I MUST ADMIT I WAS A LITTLE 102
3 I MUST ADMIT I WAS A BIT 98
4 I MUST ADMIT THAT I DO N’T 93
5 I MUST ADMIT , HOWEVER , THAT 82
6 I MUST ADMIT , I WAS A 77
7 I MUST ADMIT THAT I AM A 66
8 I MUST ADMIT , THOUGH , THAT 60
9 I MUST ADMIT THAT I DID N’T 59
10 I MUST ADMIT THAT I HAVE NEVER 55
11 I MUST ADMIT THAT I HAVE N’T 54
12 I MUST ADMIT THAT WHEN I FIRST 51
13 I MUST ADMIT THAT I DID NOT 50
14 I MUST ADMIT THAT I HAVE BEEN 50
15 I MUST ADMIT , I AM A 48
16 I MUST ADMIT THAT I AM NOT 47
17 I MUST ADMIT , I DID N’T 44
18 I MUST ADMIT , I DO N’T 44
19 I MUST ADMIT THAT I DO NOT 44
20 I MUST ADMIT THAT I DO NT 44