Polite ways to say “no” in English.

Posted on 16. Sep, 2014 by in English Language, English Vocabulary

Image "No." by sboneham on Flickr.com.

Image “No.” by sboneham on Flickr.com.

Here is a good rule to keep in mind about English; it is often better to be polite than it is to be direct. English speakers often use more words than are necessary to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because they are adding polite words to the simple messages they are trying to get across. If you are too direct in saying ‘no’ in English this can be considered rude. Let’s take a look today at some different, polite, ways to say ‘no.’ You might want to practice these new expressions often, so you don’t have to worry about appearing rude when speaking English to native speakers.

Here are some polite ways to say ‘no’ to a request for help:

I would love to help you, but …
I wish I could help you, but …
Normally I would be able to, but …  or Normally I would say yes, but…

Unfortunately now is not a good time for me….

 

Polite ways to say ‘no’ to an offer that you do not want to accept:

I appreciate the offer, but …
That would be great, but ….
Thank you for the offer, but …

 

Polite ways to say ‘no’ to an invitation:

That sounds great, but….
I’m sorry I can’t come that day/night. I have …
I really appreciate the invitation, but…

I wish I could come, but unfortunately …

 

Okay, now let’s practice using these expressions in context with a few scenarios. Here are three situations in which you need to find a polite way to say ‘no.’ Try and use the help above and see what you come up with, then look below to see what I would say in these situations.

 

Scenario 1: Your neighbor is moving to a new apartment and comes over at the last minute asking for help moving her furniture. You have to prepare for a big presentation so you are too busy to help.

 

Scenario 2: Your boyfriend offers to pick you up from work, but you already have plans to have drinks with your co-workers and so you don’t need a ride home.

 

Scenario 3: You are invited to a party at a co-workers house, but you don’t really like the co-worker and don’t want to go.

 

Scenario 1:

I would love to help you, but I am really busy working on a presentation for work right now, so I am not free.
I wish I could help you, but I have a lot of work to do for a presentation I am making tomorrow.
Normally I would be able to, but I have to prepare for my big presentation that is happening tomorrow.

Unfortunately now is not a good time for me, I have to work on an important presentation.

 

Scenario 2:

I appreciate the offer, but I was planning on having drinks with my coworkers.
That would be great, but just not tonight, because I am having drinks with my coworkers.
Thank you for the offer, but I have plans already to have drinks with my coworkers. Why don’t you come and have drinks with us!

 

Scenario 3:

That sounds great, but I can’t make it this time.
I’m sorry I can’t come that night. I have other plans already.
I really appreciate the invitation, but I am not going to be able to make it this time.

I wish I could come, but unfortunately I won’t be able to be there. Have a great party.

 

How do your responses compare to mine?

A good old English grammar review.

Posted on 12. Sep, 2014 by in English Grammar

Image "My Grammar and I" by Gwydion M. Williams on Flickr.com.

Image “My Grammar and I” by Gwydion M. Williams on Flickr.com.

It is time to do a review of the parts of speech in English! This post will be a review for many people, but for some it may be introductory. For everyone there is a practice exercise at the end of this post for you to see how well you know your parts of speech.

 

Parts of speech are words that are found in sentences. Each word, in every sentence, in all of English, belongs to one of the parts of speech listed below – there are no exceptions. We use the different parts of speech (i.e. verbs, nouns, pronouns) to make sentences, and if we put the parts of speech together in the right order our sentences are understandable to others. That is the goal, right? To write and say sentences that makes sense to others and mean what we want them to mean. This is why it is good to know the different parts of speech and how they are used.

 

Let’s take a look at all the parts of speech in English to help us better do what we want to do with our words – say something!

 

Nouns:  Nouns are naming words for people, places, and things. We can’t talk or write about anything until we have given it a name.

 

Pronouns: A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun so that we don’t have to repeat the name of a noun over and over again. In English we have male (he), female (she), and gender neutral (it) pronouns.

 

Verbs: A verb expresses action. You could say the verb is the motor that runs the sentence (like a motor runs a car), without it there would be no movement.

 

Adjectives: An adjective is a word that describes a noun. It adds descriptive or more detailed information about the noun, but the adjective is not a noun itself.

 

Adverbs: An adverb is a word that describes a verb. It can also describe another adverb or an adjective. It adds descriptive meaning.

 

Prepositions: A preposition shows or draws connections between nouns/pronouns and other words in a sentence.  In English, prepositions go before (or in front of) nouns/pronouns in sentences.

 

Conjunctions: A conjunction joins words and groups of words together. Conjunctions are the glue that holds other words together in a sentence.

 

Interjections: An interjection is a word or phrase that express an emotion (like ‘Oh!’). It is its own unique kind of word and shouldn’t be confused with a noun. Onomatopoeia is a kind of interjection.

 

Those are the parts of speech in English, now here is your practice. Take a look at the group of words below and separate them out into these eight different parts of speech. Scroll down to see if you got them all right.

 

 

be, an, but, I, boo, the, ouch!, when, silently, some, bird, would, John, and, hi, you, quickly, music, she, to, some, after, English, two, on, interesting, job, when, wish, very

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers:

Nouns:  bird, John, music, English, job

Pronouns: I, you, she

Verbs: be, would, wish

Adjectives: an, the, some, two, interesting

Adverbs:  silently, quickly, very

Prepositions: to, after, on

Conjunctions: but, and, when

Interjections: boo, ouch!, hi,

 

Now here is your real challenge, see if you can write a (long) English sentence using as many of these words as possible! Please share it with us all in the comment section below

I’m stuffed! (And other ways to say “no” to more food in English.)

Posted on 09. Sep, 2014 by in Culture, English Vocabulary

Image "Perfect Breakfast" by Mark Longair on Flickr.com.

Image “Perfect Breakfast” by Mark Longair on Flickr.com.

We all know that when travelling we are likely to eat a lot of food, often good food, especially if we stay in someone else’s home. Sometimes it is hard to say ‘no’ to food your host is giving you because you don’t want to be impolite. Food is an important part of every culture and it is one way we share our culture and our love, but when you are done eating you shouldn’t have to stuff yourself just to be polite.

In America, at least, it is okay to let a host know that you have had enough to eat and you don’t want anymore. This isn’t rude.  You won’t offend anyone by saying ‘no thank you’ to another bowl of soup or piece of cake.

There are a number of ways in English you can let someone know that you are full. Learning these different expressions is a good idea before you are invited over to someone’s house for a meal, so that you do not feel like you have to eat everything that is presented to you and so you can let people know when you are done eating.

Simple ways of saying ‘I’m done eating’ in English:

I’m full.

I’m stuffed.

 

Other good ways to say ‘I’m done eating’ in English:

Thank you, I couldn’t eat another bite.  It was all so good!

I couldn’t eat another bite I am so full/stuffed.

Everything was so delicious I am completely full.

I have had more than enough already, I just can’t eat any more.

 

Here are few contextual conversations for you to see how these expressions might be used.

 

A: Jill do you want a piece of pie?

B: Oh thank you, but no, I couldn’t eat another bite. I am so full.

 

C: Andrew, let me serve you some more turkey.

D: I have had more than enough already, thank you. I just can’t eat anymore.

 

E: Betsy, did you like the fish, let me give you some more?

F: Oh thank you, but I am stuffed.

 

You may notice in each of these conversations, no matter what expression is used to express that you are done eating, the words ‘thank you’ are also always used when declining any more food. American’s tend to say thank you, to be polite, when refusing something. In English it is almost never a bad idea to include ‘thank you’ when someone is offering you something whether you accept it or not.