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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #116869: Vocabulary: how to refuse politely
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Idioms | Politeness | Suggesting [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Making suggestions - Imperative mode and its tags. - Can/could/may... Must/have to... - Vocabulary: Sorry! (Let's apologise!) - Vocabulary: Thanking everyone - Vocabulary: greeting people - How to make wishes... - To mind and expressions
    > Double-click on words you don't understand


    Vocabulary: how to refuse 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 daren't say the words, we can't speak, even if deep inside, we refuse to agree to something we can't do, or don't feel like doing...

     

    Internally, we shout "NO", because it means we're staying true to our priorities and convictions, but we don't dare to say the words. When you finally manage to speak, you have to do it extremely politely. 

     

    I) 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).

     

     

                                                                                                        

                                          Very informal!                                                                              Kinder and more formal words...

     

     What a pity. I'll be abroad then...
     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...
     That'll be great, but I'm sorry...
     I wish I could come, but unfortunately... 

     I'd really like to, but... 

      I'm afraid I can't make it...
     That's a very kind invitation, but...

     

    II) HOW TO REFUSE AN OFFER? 

     

                                                         

     

      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 ... 

     

    III)  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... 

     

     

                                                               

     

      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...

     

    Quite a number of expressions to learn...  Don't worry, they're quite usual and easy...  I'm sure you'll succeed. Good luck!  

     



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    1. 'Ah! You’re inviting Lucy to Julian's party next Sunday at 3? ... but still, I'm sorry she won't be able to come before 5, as she'll be at the dentist's at that time...'



    2. ' How about an informal meal at the restaurant tonight?' ' on such short notice. I'm not free tonight! Maybe another time.'



    3. « A few days at your mountain cabin, next week… Hum… I’d go for it! but … I’m my cousin’s bestman!»



    4. 'Could you possibly drive Lea home from school tomorrow night?' ' , but on that precise day, I'll be at the dentist's with Lucy. She won't be at school, I'm sorry. '



    5. 'A party with the whole team... I'd be glad to see my co-workers outside the job, but – I’m going out with my mom and dad, for their anniversary.'



    6. 'Of course I'll chaperon the tennis team, but not on Saturday... On that day, I'll help the team another time...!



    7. ' Saturday, October 7th? That sounds great! Let me see... Oh dear... ... I'm so sorry I'll miss such a great event...'



    8. ' 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.'



    9. ' Your bachelor party! That sounds promising... next Saturday night... oh no! but unfortunately I have a previous engagement on that day... Can you delay it?



    10. What? You're all going out to the theatre on Saturday! Unfortunately, I'm not free on that date. But if you ever arrange another night out, please, too.'











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