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No thank you, I think I’ll pass.

Saying no is never easy but even though we don’t feel comfortable declining certain things, there are times when we need to say no. Here is a list of possible ways to say no:

I’m afraid not

A polite way of saying no

Not really

You don’t care very much about something

I don’t think so/Not as far as/I know/ Not to my knowledge/ Possibly not/ Probably not

You think you know something but are not completely sure

Certainly not/Definitely not

To emphasize that your answer to a question or request is definitely no

Of course not

You think an idea is stupid or insulting

No way/Not likely

Informal: very definite way of saying no

You must be joking/Are you kidding

Shows that you think somebody’s suggestion or request is crazy

Not exactly/Not quite

You think that something is almost (but not) correct or true

I wish I could

Used to express regret that something is not possible

Not especially/Not very (much)

Used to say no to a question about your opinion of something

How are you going to decline the next uncomfortable situation you face?


Flight attendant: Can you fasten your seat belt please?

Passenger: I’m afraid not, it’s broken and I can’t fix it!

Flight attendant: OK Sir.

Look at the exercise below and choose the best way of saying no in English.


A: Are you coming tonight?

B: ___________________.  I’d love to, but I can’t it’s my turn to babysit!


A: Is there something special you’d like to do for your birthday?

B: __________________, I’d be happy to stay at home.


A: So, your brother’s a chess champion, is he?

B: __________________, I mean, he’s won a few matches, but I wouldn’t describe him as a champion yet!


A: Do you think you’ll pass?

B: __________________, I didn’t study much.


A: Has Mr Smith checked out of his hotel yet?

B: ______________________, but you’d better check with reception.


A: Can I stay up and watch the film?

B: _____________________ it’s time you were in bed.


A: Are you going to apologize to them?

B: _________________ I don’t see why I should, it’s all their fault.


A: Are you coming up the mountain with us then?

B:  ___________________! You lot are mad. I’m not climbing up there today.