Offering, accepting and refusing in English Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in English Language, English Vocabulary

Hello, dear readers! How are you feeling today? Would you guys like to learn key phrases in English today? So I am going to make you an offer you can’t refuse!

Communicating something at a basic level in a foreign language is a great achievement, but the ability to do that in a colloquial manner or not, asessing each specific occasion, is a step further towards fluency. In case you are, or intend to go, to an English speaking country, it is very likely that you will find yourself in a situation in which it will be necessary to know how to offer, accept or refuse something in a polite or more casual way. Be it at a café, a restaurant, a diner, a friend’s house or a business meeting, these are all different contexts which require various levels of formality. There are infinite ways of doing that in a language, and it is important to know how to tell them apart to use the right language. Therefore, today’s lesson will show you some examples.


OFFER – to propose, to suggest, to give

REFUSE – to say “no”, to deny, to decline

ACCEPT – to say “yes”, to receive

To offer 

  • Formal: Would you like _____? 
  • Formal: May I offer you _____? 
  • Formal: Would you be interested in _____? 
  • Neutral: Can I get you _____? 
  • Informal: Do you want _____? 
  • Informal: How about  _____? 
  • Informal: Are you up for some _____?

(some coffee/ some tea/ some more/ some pizza/ some pie/ anything else/ more wine, etc.) 

To accept 

  • Formal: That would be nice.
  • Formal: Yes, if you don’t mind.
  • Formal: Yes, I’d love some. 
  • Neutral: Yes, please.
  • Neutral: Sure, thank you.
  • Neutral: That’s a good idea. 
  • Neutral: Sounds good/ nice/ great!
  • Informal: Yes, let’s do it / let’s go for it.

To refuse 

  • Formal: No, thank you 
  • Formal: No thank you, I don’t want to disturb.
  • Formal: That’s very kind. Unfortunately, I ____ (reason).
  • Formal: I’d like to, but ____ (reason).
  • Formal: I won’t be able to attend.
  • Neutral: I’m okay/ fine, thank you.
  • Neutral: I’m sorry, but I can’t.
  • Neutral: No, but thank you for asking.
  • Neutral: Thank you, but you don’t need to worry.
  • Informal: Thanks, but ____ (reason).
  • Informal: No, thanks. 
  • Informal: That’s alright.

Now take a look at some dialogues and pay attention to the various ways to offer, accept and refuse in each one:

At a birthday party:

  • Mindy: Would you like another slice of cake?
  • Jerry: Oh, no. I’m fine, thanks.
  • Mindy: Come on, go ahead, there’s a lot left.
  • Jerry: I know, but I’ve already had too much.
  • Mindy: Well, maybe some more soda, then? 
  • Jerry: Okay then, I’d like some.

At the university 

  • Jane: Hey guys. I’m having a party on Saturday at my place. Do you want to come? 
  • Michael: Thanks for the invitation, Jane, but I’m busy on Saturday.
  • Jim: Sounds cool, I’ll be there!
  • Jane: How about you, Pam, are you free?
  • Pam: Sure, I can make it! 
  • Jane: Great! I have to go because I’m late for class, see you there! 

At a restaurant 

  • Waiter: Good evening. Would you like to see the menu?
  • Kevin: Yes, please.
  • Waiter: In a minute, sir.
  • Waiter: Here it is.
  • Kevin: Thank you. I would like the ravióli, please. 
  • Waiter: Can I get you anything to drink?
  • Kevin: Some red wine would be good, thank you. 

That’s it for now! Are there any other expressions related to offering, accepting and refusing that you can think of? Let me know about it in the comments section!

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  1. Armando Martinez:

    Wow ! Thank you for all of these useful lessons.
    This one was particularly instructive.
    It was clear and well presented

    Just one observation.
    In the at a birthday dialogue I believe that the line should read:”I had TOO much” instead of “to much”.

    Again thank you!