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Courteous Consent or Refusal. No problem

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How often do we answer questions or ask them? Daily, is not it? And when we hear direct questions, we often answer "yes"or "no". But there are times when you need to respond more politely, so as not to seem rude. Imagine how you will look if, in response to a polite and beautifully formulated request, you simply answer "yes" or "no." There are many other ways to express your attitude to the question asked. English is not stingy for such expressions, so we gathered for you a list of alternative ways of refusal and consent in a formal and informal way.

Formal Ways of Consent

Of course. A very common expression in English and a good way to politely express your consent.


– Can I take this bottle of water?

– Yes, of course.

By all means. This phrase is literally translated as "in all senses," but in this case, one does not need to understand it literally.


– Could you let me pass?

– By all means, pass on, please!

Absolutely. It is also a common method of polite consent.


– I am sorry, could you look after my bag? I will return in a couple of minutes.

– Absolutely, do not worry.

Certainly. It is used along with the above expressions.


– Do you think they will really cope on their own?

– Certainly, they work in this mode for the second week.

All expressions can be prefixed with "yes" and separated with a comma to give even more courtesy to an agreement.

Informal Ways of Consent

Go right ahead. You can say that this is a friendly way of consent, but, naturally, you should not use it in an official atmosphere.


– Can you lend me your headphones for a couple of hours? My ones are broken, but I need to listen to information from yesterday's webinar.

– Go right ahead, take it right now.

Yeah, sure. You can use them both together and separately.


– It is the same song! I know that you like it very much.

– Yeah, sure!

No problem. It is also a friendly expression for agreement.


– Imagine, my car has broken down again. Why did I just buy it, it is nothing but trouble. Can you pick me up?

– No problem!

You bet! It is not about the literal rate, so do not confuse yourself.


– Do you think I can do this?

– You bet! Just do not hesitate!

Formal Ways of Refusal

I am afraid not. This is a very convenient way to politely refuse something.


– How about a stroll tonight?

– I am afraid not. But this is not a problem, we can go for a walk any other day.

No, I am sorry. A common way to refuse and not to offend.


– Can you come with me to this exhibition?

– No, I am sorry, but this day I will not be in the town.

Not really. Along with other ways, this is also a suitable option.


– Would you like to live outside the city?

– Not really. I am used to the constant urban traffic and city life.

Actually… You can begin the sentence with this word when you want to explain why you refuse.


– Will you go with us to the cafe now?

– Actually, I am at work.

Informal Ways of Refusal

No way! A good way to express categorical disagreement in an informal way.


– What about this hat?

– No way! My head will drown in it!

Nope. In colloquial speech, one says "nope" instead of "no" very often.


– You must clean the apartment today.

– Nope, I have a lot of homework.

Nah. It is also synonymous with the word "no".


– There are dishes with cockroaches here. Do you want to taste?

– Nah, taste it by yourself.

We hope that now you are able to express your agreement or refusal in a more vivid and nontrivial form. As you can see, we are not talking about some complicated words or florid expressions. These words and phrases can be learned by everyone.

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