10 ways to say 'NO' in English (politely!)

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Learn English with Benjamin [engVid]
Published at : 27 Dec 2020
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If I ask you out to dinner and you don't want to go, how will you say no? We have lots of expressions to politely say no, without actually saying the word "no". In this lesson, you'll learn 10 expressions you can use to politely decline an invitation. You'll discover that that we never directly say that we don't want to go. This can be confusing for anyone who isn't familiar with English culture, and especially if English isn't your first language. Learn these 10 common expressions so you can understand native English speakers, and politely refuse an offer if someone asks you out.

TAKE THE QUIZ: https://www.engvid.com/10-ways-to-say-no-in-english-politely/

TRANSCRIPT

Hello, and welcome to another engVid video. Today is a conversational class. We're looking at how the British say: "No". Now, how could today's lesson be useful to you? Well, it's a cultural difference how we accept or refuse invitations, and getting it right is quite important to making sure you don't upset someone when they do put an invitation out there to you.

The situation which we find ourselves in is the following: A friend of ours has asked me to go for a powerwalking weekend in Skegness, which is not one of the nicest parts of England. Apologies if you are from Skegness, of course. Now, powerwalking, it's a... I'm more into sort of windsurfing, or surfing, or sailing something in the water, but you know, two poles striding up a mountain is a little bit... I'm not quite ready for that. I'm a little bit too juvenile. So, how do I politely decline this fantastic invitation? I could say: "Well, thank you so much. That's such a kind invitation, but..." Okay? So we can preface this with: "Thank you so much. That is such a kind invitation, but I'm not particularly keen on... I'm not particularly keen on..." What it actually means is I hate powerwalking, but we're going to say: "I'm not particularly keen..." Okay? "Keen" means enthusiastic. Okay? "I'm not particularly keen on powerwalking or Skegness."

"That's such a wonderfully kind invitation, but it's not really my idea of how I'd like to spend a weekend." This is quite rude. This is quite: "Oo, okay. Steady on.", "It's not really my idea of..." So, you know, if you know the person really well and you've got that level of honesty in your friendship, then try this.

If you don't know the person so well, maybe try this one instead: "I'm so sorry, but it's just not my idea of..." Or you could use, instead of: "My idea of...", "It's just not my cup of tea", because we all like to have a cup of tea here in the UK. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry", okay? This "so" really gives the impression that we really care. "I'm so sorry, but it's just not my idea of..." or "it's just not my cup of tea". I don't really like these activities.

"Well, thank you so much. I'd actually much rather..." or: "I'd actually much rather..." So, "actually" doesn't really mean anything here. It's just... It's a filler word that helps us seem polite. "I'd actually much rather do anything else apart from that.", "I'd much rather..." Okay? So this is a little bit like the second one there. If you know the person reasonably well and you've got that level of honesty in your friendship. "I'd actually much rather be cracking on with something else.", "Cracking on", funny, English phrase meaning doing, getting on with. "Cracking on". "I'd actually much rather be..." It's quite a posh phrase. "...be cracking on with...", "I'd much rather be cracking on with..."

Okay. Next option: "I'm afraid I'm not really interested in..." Okay? Quite similar to some of these others in... These other options. "I'm afraid I'm not available then. I'm afraid I just can't do it on those dates", would be another way if you don't want to offend them by saying that you don't like powerwalking.

You'll notice some red followed by the blue. Obviously, the colours of the Union Jack, feeling patriotic today and enthusiastic about our strange ways of talking. Option number six: "That's fantastic, but I'm perfectly happy with..." So let's have a different scenario now. Let's say that we are in the west end, and we're going between places and an enthusiastic, young rickshaw driver, a cycle rickshaw comes up and offers us a lift for a ridiculous amount of money to go about a hundred yards. So you say: "That's fantastic, but I'm perfectly happy with walking. Thank you.", "I'm perfectly happy with walking.", "I'm perfectly happy to walk", so you could have a "to" there, infinitive verb. "That's fantastic" or "That's so kind".

Next way of saying: "No". "I'll", short for "I will": "I'll have to think about that. Thank you so much for asking. The rickshaw driver comes up. "I'll have to think about that." Quite why... It's just something we say. We're not actually going to think about it. We already know that the answer is: "No".
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