Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi, I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and welcome to you're Confident English Wednesday lesson. I want to start with a question for you: imagine that one of your English-speaking colleagues at work invites you to a party this weekend and maybe you really don't want to go or maybe you're not sure if you can go but you don't want to be offensive, you don't want to be rude; you just maybe need to have some time to think, maybe you need to check your schedule, or you just need to say no. How can you do that in English politely? In today's lesson, we're focused on polite ways to say "yes," "no," "maybe," or "I can't" in English. And these are perfect for situations at work or even situations with people who you, know your neighbors or friends. Now you might be thinking: is there really more than one way to say yes or no in English? Yes! There is more than one way, and we have some words or expressions that are great for casual, easy, everyday conversations with people that you really know well, and then we have others that are perfect for more professional situations. So let's take a look at a few examples in each of those categories. Let's start with the word "yes" and a couple of casual examples. So, maybe your colleague that you see every day, you have lunch with every day, asks you for some documents. She sends you an email and says could you send me the documents before lunch? And you could say: "Yeah, sure, no problem." "Yeah, sure, no problem." Or, "Yeah, I'd be happy to." “Yeah, I'd be happy to.” In those examples, I used “yeah” which is just an informal, more casual way to say yes. Now, if it is a new client asking you for some documents, you might not want to be so casual. So instead you could say, "Yes of course. I'll get those to you this afternoon." Or "Certainly, I'll send those to you before lunch." Now unfortunately there are times when we have to say no. "No, we can't come to the party this weekend." "No, I can't change the date of the meeting." But the reality is, just saying "no" isn't always polite. So let's look at a few other ways that you can do that. Simply adding those magic words — "thank you" — can help a lot. For example, "No, but thank you. I really appreciate the offer." "No, but thank you so much for inviting me. Unfortunately we already have something planned this weekend." "I wish I could but I just don't have time right now." "I wish I could but we have other plans this weekend." "Not right now but maybe another time. Maybe we could do that this weekend." And finally, if you want to be really casual, you can use "nope" which is a very informal way of saying no. For example, "Do you want another piece of cake?" "Nope! I've had enough." Now, in professional situations let's look at some more formal ways of saying no that are also very polite. "I'm sorry but we won't be able to change the date of the meeting." "I'm sorry but we won't be able to..." and whatever the request is. "I'm afraid that's not possible." "I'm afraid that we can't change the date." Now, what if you have an invitation, an offer, a request, and you're just not sure. Maybe you want to think about it, maybe you really don't know your schedule and you need to verify if you're free or not free to do something. Here are a few very simple words that you can use to say maybe, to say that you're not sure, you're not ready to commit. For example, "Perhaps I can make it. Let me check my calendar." Or "Perhaps it'll work. Let me think about it a little bit." "I'm not sure if I can come on Saturday. I'll double check my calendar." And finally, let's talk about how to say "I can't." For example, imagine that your boss asks you to do something at work, maybe to meet a deadline or to get a project finished earlier and the truth is you can't. But when we say that, when we use those words — "I can't" — especially in professional situations, it sounds a little bit like a failure. And "I can't" sounds very negative. But we can change the words just a little bit. And this little change removes some of the negativity and it makes it sound like you're doing what you can to accomplish the goal, to finish the project, meet the deadline, it's still in progress. And those little words are: "I'm unable to" or "I'm not able to." For example, "I'm unable to complete this this afternoon but I'll have it for you first thing tomorrow morning." Or "I'm unable to complete this until I get more information from the accounting office." "I'm unable to meet with you tomorrow but I would love to next week." Just that little change takes away some of that strong negativity, it softens the language so that it's more polite to use. And now you have several new ways to politely say yes, no, maybe, I can't in English, and I have more examples for you in the online lesson. So after you've watched this video, review the other examples and then as always I have a challenge question for you at the end. Don't miss this opportunity to practice using the language, join the conversation and get feedback from me. Thank you so much for joining me and I'll see you next Wednesday for your Confident English Wednesday lesson.