There are times when you have to say “no” to somebody. It’s not always easy, because most people feel bad when they are rejected.
Happily, there are common English expressions you can say so the other person will not feel bad. You can even say “no” without actually using the word.
Here is a short list of nice and polite ways to say “no” in English.
1. Saying no to an invitation to an event
Henri: We’d like to invite you to the conference.
Sally: I’m sorry, but I can’t make it. I will be out of the country.
2. Saying no to a request for help
Dan: Can you please help me with this report?
Steve: I wish I could help you, but my schedule is completely full today. I might have time tomorrow.
3. Saying no to an invitation to dinner
Ben: Would you like to join us for dinner?
Mel: I’d love to, but I already have something planned for tonight. Maybe next time?
4. Saying no to an offer
Carla: Would you like something to eat?
Rosa: Thank you for the offer, but I just had lunch.
5. Saying no to an activity you don’t like
Patricia: We’re going hiking this weekend. Come with us!
Susan: I’m afraid I’m not really into hiking, but thanks for the invitation.
Here’s an additional tip! It always helps to give an explanation. Sometimes it can be vague, like “I have something planned for tonight.” or “I’m not free that day.”
If you are good friends with the person, you can also be specific. For example, you can say, “I’m visiting my mother this weekend.” or “I have a date tonight.”