Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Vanessa: Hi. I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com I hope you'll like this lesson. But if you don't, here are some ways you can tell me you don't like it politely. Let's get started. One of the most important speaking tools is how to be polite. But, it's easy to be polite when you're having a good time, when you're happy. It's a little bit harder to be polite when you're upset, you're angry, or maybe you don't like something. There's a famous proverb, and maybe it's the same in your country, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. I think every parent or teacher has said this a million times. But the truth is sometimes we need to say something negative. Sometimes you have to say that you don't like something or you didn't have a good experience. So today, I'm here to help you politely talk about something negative. We're going to talk about 20 expressions that politely mean I don't like it without actually saying those words. I thought about this lesson topic because I live in the South, and it's really typical to hear a Southern woman say, "Bless your heart." This sounds like a positive thing, right? They're blessing you. But don't be fooled. This is coded Southern language. It really means, "Oh, you're not so smart." So for example, if I give a Southern woman some cookies that I made, and really those cookies are awful, she might say to me, "Oh, you made these? Bless your heart." It means that you're a nice person, but you're not so smart, especially when it comes to cooking. Now, I don't recommend you use this expression, bless your heart. This is only for people who were born in the South of the US. I live in the South, but I was born in the North, so I feel like I can't even use this expression. But I wanted to share this with you because sometimes negative language is coded and seems like it's positive. So I hope that the expressions that you learned today will help you to be aware of what other people are saying, maybe they're saying negative things and you don't even know it, and also to help you use this kind of indirect language to be more polite. So let's get started with the first five expressions about how to talk about something that you don't really like. Let's imagine a situation that maybe happened to me. All right. Let's imagine that you go to a play with your friend. Let's say your friend's name is Sam. You're going to go see a play with your friend Sam because your other friend, Sherry, is in the play. She's acting in the play. And really, the play is awful. You don't understand it. It doesn't make any sense. The plot, the characters, the scenery, the story, nothing about it is what you like. This is pretty tough. Maybe after the play when you talk with Sherry, you probably tell a white lie and say, "Oh, thank you for inviting me. It was nice to see what you're working on." You don't need to tell her the absolute truth about what you think. But when you talk with your friend Sam, who you went to see the play with, how could you talk about your true feelings for this in kind of a polite way, but also showing that you didn't really like it? Well, you could say, "It was... interesting. It was... eye-opening. It was... different. It was... an experience." Do you notice with all four of these sentences I'm using kind of positive words, interesting, eye-opening, different, and experience? But there is one thing all of these sentences have in common, a little pause. This is key. It was... interesting. If you say, "Oh yeah, it was interesting." Totally different meaning. There's no pause. The inflection in your voice is very upbeat and positive. But if you say, "It was... interesting. It was... eye-opening," with a little pause, it is completely different. It means it was not interesting, it was not eye-opening. Maybe it was different, but in a bad way. It was an experience that I don't want to have again. This is a coded language with a little pause to tell your friend Sam, "I didn't like it," but you're not telling him that directly. And you know what? Sam will understand exactly what you mean. If you said that to me, "It was... eye-opening," I will understand exactly what you mean. I'll understand that it wasn't your type of play. You didn't like the plot, the characters. But you want to still be polite. You don't want to say, "Ugh, that was terrible. That was the worst two hours of my life." Maybe you don't want to tell me that. So instead, you'll use one of these paused expressions. You might hear these kind of pauses used with other positive words, but I feel like these four are probably the most common that you'll hear. You might hear this in TV shows and movies. And I hope you can use it too when you experience something that maybe you don't really like. If you want to be a little bit more direct, you could add to the end of those sentences if you know what I mean. So you might say, "It was... an experience, if you know what I mean." This is much more direct. You're telling him, "Hey, it wasn't a good experience. This is coded language, if you know what I mean." It's kind of like you're sharing a little inside secret. So if you add this to the end of your sentence or if you hear someone else say that, it means what you heard is not exactly what I mean. I mean something different. There's another underlying meaning here. It was... eye-opening, if you know what I mean. Wow. My eyes were open to all of the terrible plays in the world. You're not saying those directly negative sentences, but it's helping your coded sentence be a little bit more direct. Now let's go on to talk about 13 ways that you can say I don't want it or I don't like it in a polite way. Almost all of these sentences can be turned to be positive as well. Let's imagine this situation that happens to me all the time. Let's imagine you go to a restaurant with a friend and your friend orders a beer and says, "Want to try it?" So you take a little sip, but you don't like it. How can you express that to your friend without saying, "I can't believe what you're drinking. That's so gross. How could you drink that?" Maybe that's what you're thinking. So how can you say it a little bit more politely with also telling them, "I don't like it"? You can say, "I'm not really into it." In this sentence, it is the beer. I'm not really into this beer. If there's something plural, maybe there's a music group that your friend wants you to listen to and you don't like them, you could say, "I'm not really into them." You can change that last pronoun. Why did I add really here? I'm not really into it. Well, this helps actually to scale it back, to be a little bit less strong. It means, well, I don't hate it, but I don't love it. Maybe you really hate it, but you want to just make it a little bit less strong. You can add really to almost all of these sentences that we're about to talk about. You could also say, "I'm not really crazy about it," or just, "I'm not crazy about it. I'm not really crazy about it. I'm not crazy about it," or, "That's not for me. That's not really for me." That's not really for me makes it a little bit less strong. I'm not really a big fan of that beer. I'm not really a big fan of it. Or we can make this sentence positive and say, "I'm a big fan of that beer. I'm definitely going to get some," or you might say a simple sentence, "I'll pass." Make sure you use this hand gesture. You're kind of waving a little bit. I'll pass. You're kind of pushing it aside, and it just shows I'll pass. Thanks anyway. I'm not going to get my own. Thanks. I'll pass. The next sentence you have to be careful your tone of voice. Let's say you take a sip of the beer and they say, "Oh, do you want me to get you one?" You could say, "I've had enough of it. I've had enough of it." Do you see my tone of voice here? I'm not saying this in an angry way. You could say this if you were really angry. I've had enough of it. I can't believe this is still happening. You could say it in a really angry way. Or if you're just saying, "I don't want you to order me this beer because I don't like it," you can say it in a lighter way. "I've had enough of it. One sip was enough for me. I've had enough of it." The next four sentences have a similar sentence construction, so we're going to put them together. You could say, "It's not up my alley." Or we could add that word really. "It's not really up my alley, so I'm not going to get that beer." You could make this sentence positive, "Yeah, that's kind of up my alley. I think I might get it," if you really like something. It's not my cup of tea. It's not really my cup of tea, so I'm not going to get that. It's kind of a little odd here because our example is about beer and this example, this phrase, uses tea. So maybe for beer this might be a little bit odd to use. But let's say you have another experience. You're listening to some music that a friend wants you to listen to, and you don't really like it. You might use this. It's not really my cup of tea, so I think I'm not going to listen to them again. With this expression, you can say, "That's my cup of tea," if you like something. But really, we hardly ever use this. You might hear people use this, but I don't really recommend it. It's grammatically fine. I'm sure you'll hear occasionally some people use this, but you'll most likely hear this in the negative sense. That's not really my cup of tea, so I'm not going to do it. That's not really my cup of tea. That's not my thing. That's not really my thing. The same as the previous sentence, you can say, "That's my thing," but we hardly ever use this in the positive form. You're most likely to hear this, and I hope you're most likely to use this, in a negative form. That beer, nah, that's not my thing. It's not my style. It's not my jam. It's not really my style. It's not really my jam. These two are slang expressions. So if you're talking about something casual, this is fine to use. That's not my style doesn't mean it has to be about clothing. Could just be a type of thing. Not really my style of beer. That's not really my style of thing. I'm not a big fan of it. Let's imagine that situation where your friend lets you drink their beer and they've been talking about how amazing it is. "Oh, I can't wait to go to this restaurant for you to try this beer. It's just mind-blowing. It's incredible." Well, you don't want to disappoint your friend. But if you don't like it, you probably need to tell them in some way so that you don't have to drink a lot of it, you could say, "It doesn't really do anything for me." This sentence is very cryptic. It doesn't really do anything for me. We kind of get this image of fireworks. If it did something for you, that means that you feel fireworks inside of you. You're so excited about it. But really, this beer is nothing special to you. So you could say, "It doesn't do anything for me," or, "It doesn't really do anything for me." You could say, "I don't really care for it. I don't really care for it. I know you really like it, but, yeah, it's just not my thing. I don't really care for it." If that beer is an imperial stout, a really heavy beer, you might say, "Yeah, I'm not really an imperial stout person," or, "I'm not really a beer person." This is describing in general your character. I'm not really a dog person. I'm not really a cat person. I'm not really ... You could put almost any category in there. I'm not really a grammar person. I'd rather just watch movies and listen to English in a more natural, fun way. I'm not really a person. I hope you enjoyed these 20 expressions to help you be more polite in negative situations. So now I have a question for you. Imagine that we're going to a restaurant and I offer you my beer, or wine, or tea, or coffee and you don't like it. Which one of these polite expressions can you use to help me feel like, okay, you're not being rude, but I understand how you feel. You don't like it, and you're just trying to be polite about it. Which one of these would you like to use? Write it down in the comments. Thanks so much for learning English with me.