Great Ways to Say “No” to People in English

Saying “No” to people can be done in many possible ways. In some cases, saying no to other people may bring guilt as it is in our nature to seek affirmation from other people. Refusing is sometimes difficult. Does it feel bad sometimes when you decline or refuse someone? That’s why mastering and learning how to say no is advantageous most of the time.

Formal Ways to Say “No” in English

Ways of Saying NO

How and When to Say “No” Formally in English

A formal way to say no is frequently polite and direct to the point. The key factor in making your formal refusal is explaining why you’ll be saying no, saying no in a brief manner, and making up for your refusal if possible. These factors are present when formally saying to other people. Here’s a list of examples you may use:

  • I’m happy you asked me, but I am afraid I can’t.

Bring some emphasis that you’re grateful for the offer or query. This makes your statements sound kind.

  • Unfortunately, I have plans.

Starting with a negative adjective and ending with your explanation simply means that you are not capable of doing something and that is why you’re saying no.

  • No, thanks, however, it sounds quite nice.

Sometimes saying no and adding compliments after it is effective.

  • I wish/hope I were able to do that.

Adding some interest to a possible agreement brings less guilt.

Making an apology first makes your statement sincere.

List of Formal Ways to Say “No” in English

  1. I’m sorry, but the answer is no.
  2. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
  3. I regret to inform you that the answer is no.
  4. I’m afraid the answer is no.
  5. The answer to that request is no.
  6. I am unable to grant that request.
  7. I must decline that request.
  8. I am unable to accommodate that request.
  9. I’m sorry, but that request cannot be fulfilled.
  10. That request is denied.
  11. I cannot approve that request.
  12. I cannot authorize that request.
  13. That request is not possible.
  14. The answer is no, I’m afraid.
  15. That request is not granted.
  16. I’m sorry, but that request is not possible.

Informal Ways to Say “No” in English

NO Synonym: 55 Alternative Ways To Say NO to People

How and When to Say “No” Informally in English

Informal ways to say no is often straightforward and short. Most of the time, these words or groups of words are used to say

  • No.

Saying no and adding no explanations to it may sometime sound unpolite.

  • Nope.

This term is used as slang for no and used to end the conversation.

  • Nah.

This word is mostly used in informal speaking and day-to-day conversations. The word “nah” is mostly used as an expression of disagreement.

  • No way.

These words are often used with an emotional speaking voice when spoken.

  • Absolutely not.

Do you want to completely express that you’re refusing someone? Using this phrase brings an extra urge to end a conversation.

List of Informal Ways to Say “No” in English

  1. No way.
  2. Nope
  3. Nah
  4. Sorry, can’t do that.
  5. Not happening.
  6. Absolutely not.
  7. Not a chance.
  8. I’m out.
  9. Can’t agree to that.
  10. No thanks.
  11. No can do.
  12. Not interested.
  13. Ain’t gonna happen.
  14. I don’t think so.

NO Synonym: 55 Alternative Ways To Say NO to People

Idiomatic Ways to Say “No” in English

Using idiomatic ways to say no is helpful in times when you want to say no if other people ask too much from you.

  • Over my dead body

You’re just emotionally expressing that you’re not allowing somebody to do something.

  • Count me out

Even though there is no literal counting, this is another way of saying that you don’t want to be included.

Professional Ways to Say “No” in English

Most professional ways to say no involves empathy and understanding. Being able to comprehend the current situation and identify your responses are crucial when making your disagreement professional. Professional ways and formal ways are almost the same, however, professional ways are very specific and situational.

  • Sadly, I’m unable to do that because of my workload. I can work on that later on when I have time.

In a professional setting, we commonly think about how our conversations should not sound rude. By adding the three factors discussed in using formal ways of saying no to other people, you’ll be able to be kind and professional at the same time.

  • I would love to, but I have other appointments.
  • It’s an honor for you to ask for some assistance from me, however, I just don’t have the knowledge to do that.

Would you feel bad if someone refuses to your request when they sound very sincere and polite? Be sure to use compliments or interest with saying no.

“NO” Synonyms

Learn these useful synonyms for NO to increase your English vocabulary and improve your communication skill.

  1. Nah
  2. Nope
  3. No way
  4. Sorry
  5. Not now
  6. Certainly not
  7. By no means
  8. I shall not
  9. Not likely
  10. No thanks!
  11. I think not.
  12. Unfortunately not
  13. I’m slammed
  14. Not possible
  15. Not this time
  16. Not for me, thanks
  17. It’s not my thing
  18. I think I’ll pass.
  19. Not today, thanks
  20. I wish I could but…
  21. I’m taking sometime
  22. Maybe another time
  23. I’m not interested
  24. If only I could!
  25. If only it worked
  26. I’ll need to bow out
  27. I’m afraid I can’t
  28. I have something else
  29. I don’t think I want to
  30. Thanks, but no thanks
  31. Rats! Would’ve loved to
  32. Not now, but another time
  33. I’m honored, but I can’t
  34. I wish I were able to
  35. Damn! Not able to fit it in
  36. I won’t be able to help
  37. I’d love to – but can’t
  38. I’d rather not, thanks
  39. I wish I could make it work
  40. I wish there were two of me
  41. I find the idea undesirable
  42. Apologies, but I can’t make it.
  43. I’m not able to make that time
  44. I’m booked into something else
  45. Sadly I have something else
  46. Sounds great, but I can’t commit.
  47. No thank you, but it sounds lovely
  48. We appreciate the offer, however…
  49. Unfortunately, it’s not a good time
  50. No thanks, I won’t be able to make it
  51. Thanks for thinking of me but I can’t
  52. No thanks, I have another commitment
  53. I appreciate your time, but no thank you
  54. I’m not really into it, but thanks for asking!
  55. I’m not taking on anything else right now.

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