Unit 16: Politely refusing something | Cách từ chối lịch sự

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Language for politely refusing

This episode focuses on politely refusing a request to do something.

Phrases from the programme:

  • Thank you for your offer. But I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to.
  • I’m afraid it is against company policy…
  • It wouldn’t be appropriate.
  • With regret, I’m going to have to say no.

Listening Challenge

What excuse does Anna give Seb Lime for not going to lunch with him?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Hello! You’re joining us again after Anna’s call from Mr Lime – he asked her to lunch, remember. Now Anna and Denise are flapping.

Denise
…and before you know it, he’ll be asking you to marry him! Trust me Anna, this has happened to me dozens of times!

Anna
But I thought he was only interested in the lemons! Please promise me you won’t mention this to anyone.

Denise
OK, I promise.

Anna
Oh, shhhh!

Tom
Good morning. What’s going on?

Denise
Mr Lime has asked Anna to lunch!

Anna
Please…

Tom
And?

Denise
And it’s not to talk business! I saw him looking at her with big eyes, from the moment he first saw her!

Anna
Denise!

Tom
Old Slimy Limey eh? Lucky Anna!

Anna
He’s not slimy, it’s just…

Tom
Don’t tell me you said yes?!

Anna
Well I didn’t know what to say.

Tom
You didn’t?

Anna
No, no, I said I was busy and would call back. I wanted to just say no, but with everyone complaining that I’m not polite on the phone… I just… I didn’t know how to say it politely.

Tom
Ha ha, I’ll tell you what to say.

Anna
Hang on, let me write it down… why do all the pens keep disappearing?

Denise
Here’s one.

Anna
Thanks. Okay, I’m listening Tom.

Tom
Say: go…

Anna
(writing) go…

Tom
…away… Slimy Limey.

Anna
Go away Slimy Limey. Are you sure?

Tom
Of course!

Denise
Don’t listen to him Anna. This is what you should say:
Thank you for your offer. But I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to.
Then explain why, say I’m afraid… blah blah blah

Anna
Blah blah blah?

Denise
Say it’s against company policy to have non-business lunches with clients.

Anna
Meaning?

Denise
You’re not allowed to if it’s not for business. Then say:
It wouldn’t be appropriate. So, with regret, I’m going to have to say no.

Anna
Okay, I think I’ve got that all down. Thanks. He’ll be waiting for my call.
(dials phone)

Mr Lime
Hello, Seb Lime speaking.

Anna
Hello Mr Lime.

Mr Lime
Anna! Please, call me Seb. So, when can I invite you to lunch?

Denise
(whispering loudly) Thank you for your offer…

Anna
Well, thank you for your offer. But I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to.

Mr Lime
Oh?

Denise
(whispering loudly) I’m afraid…

Anna
I’m afraid it’s against company policy to have non-business lunches with people.

Mr Lime
Really? Oh how tedious!

Denise
(whispering loudly) It wouldn’t be-

Anna
Shhh!

Mr Lime
Pardon?

Anna
No, not shhh you Mr Slimy I meant shhhh Denise!

Mr Lime
Mr Slimy?

Anna
Oh no! I mean Mr Limey – Lime – er Seb! You see, it wouldn’t be appropriate. So, with regret, I’m going to have to say no.

Mr Lime
I think I’ve understood. Goodbye Anna.

Anna
Goodbye.

Narrator
Oh dear, he didn’t take that too well. But, apart from a little mistake, Anna did well there. Here are the phrases she used to politely refuse the offer of lunch:

  • Thank you for your offer. But I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to.
  • I’m afraid it is against company policy…
  • It wouldn’t be appropriate.
  • With regret, I’m going to have to say no.

Good job Anna, bad luck Mr Slimy!

Listening Challenge – Answer

What excuse does Anna give Seb Lime for not going to lunch with him?
She says it is against company policy.


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