[Phrases] How To Say No Politely

“YES” slips off our mouth before we have a chance to stop it, even if our heart shouts “NO”. Our head screams that we don’t want that, but we dare not say the words… When you finally manage to speak, you have to do it extremely politely.

1. HOW TO REFUSE AN INVITATION?

You may be invited to a social event or a party, and if you manage to decline, never forget to start with a positive statement (saying “thank you”, for instance).

If your friend invites you to her birthday party, but your mother asks you to babysit your little sister…

You may refuse the invitation in this way:

  • That sounds great, but… (informal.)
  • I’m sorry, but I can’t…
  • I really appreciate your invitation, but…
  • Well, that’s very kind of you, but…
  • I wish I could come, but unfortunately…
  • That’s a very kind invitation, but…

2. HOW TO REFUSE AN OFFER?

Thinking about the situation:

You have several job interviews and get two offers now: one is from a company that you aren’t really interested in, while the other is from your dream company!

You can refuse the offer from the former company in this way:

  • I appreciate the offer, but…
  • That would really be great, but…
  • Thank you very much for the offer, but…
  • I’m awfully sorry I have to refuse such an offer, but…
  • That’s very kind of you; unfortunately, I can’t …

3. HOW TO DENY A REQUEST?

When a relative, a friend, or a near stranger asks you for some help, it’s even more difficult to refuse. If you absolutely have to decline, don’t forget to do it extremely politely, thanking, giving the reason and apologising…

Do it this way:

  • I’m sorry I can’t help you here…
  • I’m sorry, I’ll help another time, but I can’t today…
  • I’d love to help, but right now, I’m too busy…
  • I really wish I could help, but I can’t…
  • I wish I could, but right now, I can’t…
  • Normally, I’d be able to help, but…

Practice
1. — How about an informal meal at the restaurant tonight?

    — ______on such short notice. I’m not free tonight! Maybe another time.’

A. I’m awfully sorry that I have to refuse

B. I appreciate the offer

C. I can’t next time

2. The position of CEO in Chicago? Very tempting, indeed… ____ but I can’t accept such a relocation. My kids and wife are living in L.A.’ 

A. What a pity. I’ll be abroad

B. I really appreciate the offer

C I’m happy I can’t come

Do you know how to say “no” politely and graciously in English now?

Write down the answers below!

See you next time!

Look forward to your reply!

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