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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 


How to accept or refuse a request politely.

POLITE REQUESTS - accepting or refusing 
  • Can I have a copy of this letter please?
    • Sure. Here you are.
    • I'm afraid that's not possible.

  • Can I borrow your pen please?
    • Yes. Go ahead. No problem.
    • Sorry. I'm afraid I need it.

  • Could you help me with this please?
    Do you think you could help me with this please?
    • Yes, of course. | Just a second. I'll be right with you.
    • I'm afraid I can't. Sorry.

  • Could I have some more tea please?
    • Yes of course. I'll get some.
    • Sorry. There is no tea left.

    'May' is more polite than 'can' or 'could'.
  • May I sit here?
    • Sure. Please do.
    • Sorry. That's Carla's seat.

  • May I use your phone?
    • Yes, of course.
    • Sorry. The line is out of order. / I'm waiting for a call.

  • Will you join us for dinner?
    • Yes. With pleasure. / I'd be delighted to.
    • I'm afraid I can't - sorry.
    • I'd love to but I'm afraid I've got other plans.

  • Would you translate this for me please?
    • No problem. I'll do that straight away.
    • I'm sorry. I don't speak ....

  • Would you care to join us for lunch?
    • With pleasure.
    • Sorry. I've got an appointment.

  • Do you mind if I open the window?
    • No, not at all.
    • I'd rather you didn't. I feel a bit cold.

  • Do you mind if I read your newspaper?
    • Please do.
    • I'm afraid it's not mine.

  • Would you mind if I opened the window?
    • No, of course not.
    • I'd prefer if you didn't. It's rather cold.

  • Would you mind closing the door?
    • No problem.
    • I'm afraid I can't. It's blocked.

  • Is it ok if I use your dictionary?
    • Yes, that's ok.
    • Sorry. I need it for the moment.

  • Do you think I could borrow this book?
    • Sure. Go ahead.
    • Sorry. It must be left here.

  • It is all right if I park here?
    • Yes. That's fine..
    • No. That's the manager's space!

Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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