A Word We Use All the Time, But Do Not Like to Hear
La’. Nej. Nein. Īe. NO. The word is often short. Maybe it sounds sad, or angry. No one really likes hearing it. But we all know that no is a very important word.
There are many reasons to say no. And it is important to be able to communicate it well. And there are many ways to say no! Use this list to learn 6 ways to say no in English. Learning some of these ways can improve your English skills. And you can be more confident in saying no in a better way.
How to Say No and Be Polite
We want to say no in a polite way. Being polite is different in every culture. And language is an important way we can be polite. There are many ways to be polite! And every situation is different. So, we need different ways to refuse or correct other people.
In English, one of the ways to be more polite in saying no is to use more words. Responding with a short “no”, can sound rude. But you can explain why the answer is no.
6 Ways to Say “No” in English!
Here are 6 new ways to say no in English.
1. “No thank you.”
What if a friend asks you to come and get coffee with them, but you do not have time? You can simply say “No thank you”! This will tell them that you appreciate their offer. Saying “no thank you” is very polite. But it clearly tells them that you cannot.
“Would you like to go to the park tomorrow?”
“No thank you. I have bad allergies. Going to the park would make me sneeze too much!”
2. “I’m okay.”
When someone offers to help you or wants to give you something, you can say “I’m okay.” That is a polite way to say that you do not need help or do not want what they offer. Be careful with this one though. It is not a very clear way to say no.
“I can send that email for you, if that would help.”
“I’m okay! It will not take long. Thank you, though.”
When someone invites you to go somewhere, they are being kind. One way to thank them for their offer is saying “No thank you”, like we talked about. Another way is to say “Sorry!”
This is an apology that you cannot go or do something. And the person you are speaking to will understand that you cannot go.
“I am going to play baseball this weekend. Would you like to come?”
“Sorry! I cannot. But I hope you have fun!”
4. “If only I could!”
If a friend invites you to a very fun event, but you cannot go, you can say “If only I could!” This will tell them that you really wanted to go, but sadly, you cannot.
“We are having a birthday party for Sam on Friday. Can you come?”
“If only I could! But I have a doctor’s appointment.”
5. “I don’t think so.”
Imagine that someone says something that you do not agree with, or think is wrong. One way to correct them is to say “I don’t think so.” Then you can explain what you do think.
This phrase includes another contraction! “don’t” is a contraction of “do not”, but most English speakers will shorten this phrase. When you say “I don’t” instead of “I do not”, it sounds less formal and more natural.
“I think it is going to rain later.”
“I don’t think so. The clouds are clearing up now.”
6. “Not really.”
If someone is close to the truth, or asks a question and is mostly wrong, you can say “Not really.” This will tell them that they have it a little bit right, but then you can tell them the rest of the situation. Or, if someone asks if you feel a certain way, you can say “Not really” instead of “No.”
“You went to the park last weekend?”
“Not really. We walked past the park, but did not visit it for long.”
How Do You Say No?
Finding more ways to say no can help you to feel more confident with English! It can make talking to and understanding other people easier. And, it is always fun to learn something new. What other ways have you heard people say no? What is your favorite way to say no? Have you tried one of these before?
You could try to use some of these ways to say no this week—or, you could say “No thank you” to that challenge, and check out our 5 Other Ways to Say Yes instead!