Did you get the perfect job offer? Or do you not feel like going out with your friends tonight? Would you like to make plans for the weekend? We accept and reject offers all the time in day-to-day life, so it’s important to know how to do it properly.
This week we’re looking at how to accept and reject offers so that you can say in English exactly what you mean, and be confident that you will be understood.
Are you trying to make plans with someone or want to help them in some way? Then you’re looking to make (them) an offer. There are a few phrases we use to make offers in English:
- Would you like…?
- Do you want…?
- Can I…?
- May I…?
These phrases vary based on degrees of politeness, with “would you like…?” or “Do you want…?” being the most common, and “can I” and “may I” are more polite and more formal.
You may very well hear “can I get/have…?” in a restaurant- but remember: when asking for permission for something, you should always use “may” instead of the other modal verbs! This is our biggest pet peeve (pet hate (UK) something that bothers you a little when people do it/say it!)
For example, you can say:
- Would you like to go to the movies this weekend?
- Can I get you a cup of coffee?
- May I take your coat?
NB: If you have applied for a new job, interviewed, and received a job offer, it will probably look a little different and more formal. A job offer may say, “Would you be available to start on June 15th?”
When you’re accepting offers, there are a few set phrases you can use:
- Yes, please. That would be nice/lovely. — This phrase can be both formal and also used among friends.
- Yes, please. I’d like that very much. — This phrase is the same as the above, and can be both formal, as well as informal.
- That would be very kind of you. — This variation is more formal, and can be used in offices or more formal events.
- Thank you, that would be great. — This is probably the least formal, but is still polite, which is always important!
NB: When accepting a job offer, it is always better to err on the side of caution (be more careful) and be rather more formal than too informal.
When rejecting offers, we have a few good phrases you can use, but we want to mention tone and style quickly- the way you say something and the tone of your voice can make all the difference to how you communicate.
If you say, “No thanks!” with a smile on your face, then the rejection will be accepted easily. Just be careful that you are aware of how you are saying something, not just what you are saying.
That said (after my last point), here are some set phrases you can use to reject an offer:
- No, thanks. — Saying “no, thanks” is quick and more informal, but can also be used among colleagues that you work closely with or have worked with for a long time.
- No, thank you. — This is also quick, yet more formal, and can be used with anyone.
- (No,) It’s ok, I can do it/get it (myself). — If you’re feeling more independent or have some time on your hands (extra time, flexibility), you can use this phrase if someone offers to get something or do something for you but you want to do it yourself.
- Don’t worry, I’ll do it (myself). — This phrase is also rather informal, but can also be used among colleagues if you have the time or desire to do something by yourself.
NB: When rejecting a job offer, it is important to do so politely and a little more formally. For example, you can say: “Thank you very much for the kind offer, but I have already accepted another position.”
Making, accepting, and rejecting offers is an important aspect of everyday life, so learning these phrases will surely help you out in the long run.
Do you have any questions about how to make, accept and reject offers in English? Drop us a line in the comments below!
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Looking for grammar? Try Tricky Adjectives and Adverbs, when to use Which and That, Order of Adjectives, Its vs It’s, and Present Continuous tense!
Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and is honored to offer you only the best English language advice to help you on your road to fluency and to feel confident when you make, accept and reject offers.
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