How to say no in English

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Age: 123
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United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Has this ever happened to you? Your boss asks if you can spend all night at a dinner meeting even though you have to go to your best friend's birthday party.

There are always times we have to say no. But how do we do it without being rude or insulting? Here are some English phrases that might help you to say no without hurting the feelings of the person who wants you to do something.

I can't right now, but maybe later. This mean perhaps in the future.

Unfortunately, I've had a few things come up. This means something unexpected has happened.

I'm trying to focus on finishing off some other things. This is another way of saying you have some unfinished business.

I'm sorry I can't. This simply says it's impossible for you.

I can't at that time, but I'm happy to help you with something else later. This is very polite. You say no but offer you help for other things.

Sorry but that isn't my strong suit. This is another way of saying you won't be good at that.

I'm sure you will do fine on your own. This is a polite way of telling someone to do it themselves.

I'm afraid I'm committed to something else. Say this if you have other plans.

I really don't enjoy that kind of activity. Or, I don't like to do that.

I'm sorry, but I have an emergency to attend to. This says you have something urgent you must do.
Posted 11 May 2009

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