An Online Catalogue of English Grammar Exercises

Refusing - politely and rudely!
For example:
This is a bit rude (or impolite): No thanks! I don't want to.
This is very polite: No, thanks. It's very kind of you!

If some-one invites you: Be careful!!!

To refuse: 'No, thank you.' This is not enough. It's rude unless you say it slowly and with a smile!

To be very polite say: 'Thank you. That's really kind of you, but I can't because….' And give a reason. DON'T say 'I'm busy' but you CAN say 'I'm busy because I'm meeting a friend'.

Other examples:
1. Invitation: 'Do you fancy a drink?' (this is colloquial, for a pub or bar or disco).
Refusal: 'I'm not sure I do. Thanks all the same!'


2. Invitation: 'Would you like to come to my party?'
Refusal: 'No, I wouldn't. Thank you!'

n.b. Accepting is always easy: say:Yes!!!

Practice Exercise: How do you do this:
1. Refuse an invitation to a dinner party (you like the people so be polite!)…………
2. Don't accept food you don't like.
3. Refuse an offer of help. (you don't need it or want it).
4. Refuse a kind offer to do your shopping for you.
5. Refuse an invitation to see a film you've seen before.
6. Refuse the offer of a lift in some-one's car.

Possible Answers:
1. I'm really sorry, I can't. I would love to come at another time.
2. No, I'm sorry, I don't eat that, I'm afraid. (if you like the person you don't say anything!!)
3. Thank you very much, I can manage.
4. Same as 3., but longer intonation!
5. No thanks, I've already seen it.
6. Thank you but I don't accept lifts from strangers.

Read The A - Z of English Grammar & Usage to see the rules.

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