Are you ever in a situation where you want to say something in English but you don’t have the right words and phrases? Well, today’s conversation focuses on saying no in English in a way that is polite and won’t offend anybody!
1) A quick bit of reading
Read the 3 short conversations in my photo and answer the questions:
- Who do you think is speaking in each conversation (colleagues, friends, strangers, family)?
- What does person A need help with?
- What reason does person B give for not helping?
2) Look at the structure of politely saying no in English:
We tend to give an apology using ‘but’ (e.g. I’d love to but…..) and an excuse/reason. Try to complete the gaps.
- I ________ but I’ve hurt my back.
- Sorry ___________ that.
- I’m ________ __________ rush.
- I’m ____________ I can’t.
- _________________ I would.
- ___________ next time though.
3) Practise your pronunciation:
The intonation (pronunciation) and facial expression are also REALLY important in English. We need to look very sorry and have an apologetic tone!! Listen to hear how I say them:
Once you have learnt the phrases above, practise saying them in a mirror or record yourself on your mobile phone to see/hear how you sound. You should look and sound as though you feel very bad that you can’t help!
How was it? Leave me a comment below if you liked these phrases for saying no in English. Remember: Next time somebody asks you for help or a favour, try to use this structure and these phrases…..and don’t forget your sorry face!