Sometimes you need to say no when someone makes a suggestion, offers something or asks you to do something for them. Of course, saying just 'no' can be rather rude. Here are some of the most common ways to say 'no' nicely - or at least not rudely.
- Would you like to see a film tonight?
I'm afraid I can't go out tonight. I've got a test tomorrow.
- Why don't we have some Chinese food?
Sorry, but I don't particularly like Chinese food.
- How about taking a nice walk?
I'd really rather not take a walk this afternoon.
- Would you like to come to the museum with us?
Thank you, but it's not my idea of a fun afternoon out.
- Let's go for a drive
Sorry, I'm not really fond of driving for the fun of it.
- Why don't you stay the night?
That's very kind of you, but I really have to get back to the city.
NOTE: Notice how we often say 'thank you' in some way before refusing the offer. When someone makes an offer it is polite to first thank that person and then say no, often offering an excuse for not wanting or being able to do something. Just saying 'no' is considered very rude behavior indeed!
After you study these constructions, take the saying no nicely quiz to check your understanding.
More English Functions
Asking for Information
Being Imprecise or Vague
Saying 'No' Nicely
|I'm afraid I can't...||Use the base form of the verb without 'to'|
|I don't particularly like...||Use the '-ing' form of the verb with the verb 'like' in the present simple.|
|I'd (really) rather not...||Use the base form the verb without 'to' with 'rather'|
|It's not my idea of...||Use the '-ing' form following a preposition, or a noun|
|I'm not (really) fond of...||Use the '-ing' form following a preposition, or a noun|
|Thank you (thank you for asking, thank you very much, etc.) but, I have to...||Use the base form the verb without 'to' following the modal form 'have to do'|