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English Expressions for Refusing Nicely

Part Two. Designed by Conviron Altatis.


*Sometimes, we have to say no though unwillingly. And there is always a good way to do that.

JUMPSTARTER: Suppose you are being offered a food you don’t like, how would you refuse it nicely?

EXPRESSION 1: As much as I want to go there but my parents won’t allow me.

(refusing an offer or favor)


EXPRESSION 2: Thanks for the invitation but I already have a previous appointment.

(declining an invitation due to unavailable schedule)

EXPRESSION 3: I’m afraid I won’t be able to lend you some money because I’m broke, too.

(refusing to help)

EXPRESSION 4: I appreciate the gesture/your concern but I can solve this by myself.

(refusing an offered help)

EXPRESSION 5: I would be honored to be your best man but I don’t think it’s appropriate.

(refusing to do a role)



SPEAKING GAMBIT: Refuse nicely by being sorry and straightforward.

ROLE-PLAYING TASKS: Act out the following situations with a partner.

1.      Vander is bored so he wanted to go to his friend Davy’s apartment.

However, Davy is tired and wants to be alone. 

2.      Yvette wants to apply as a writer in a magazine in which her friend Yvonne works.

Yvonne, the editor of the magazine, thinks Yvette isn’t a good writer so she wants to discourage her.

3.      Phillip needs money so he is selling his car to his friend Frank.

The problem is Frank doesn’t like Phillip’s car because it’s too old and and a little expensive.

4.      Your new boss invited you to go mountain climbing this weekend.

However, you don’t wanna go because you are scared of mountains.

5.       Matthew wants to help Heather decorate her new apartment.

Nevertheless, Heather, an interior designer, thinks she doesn’t need help.

DISCUSSION TASKS: Talk about an experience when you-

1.      declined an invitation.

2.      refused to help someone.

3.      refused an offered help.


CONCLUDER: When refusing, don’t be too polite- it will sound insincere. Also, don’t give too many excuses.


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