Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GOOD Way to Give BAD News

Sometimes when speaking English as a second language -as in life- we need to give bad news or tell someone that something is not possible or available.

Fortunately, if it's not a matter of life and death, there are ways to lessen the negativity of the situation.

So if you wish to make a lesser impact, avoid the use of no, as natives speakers tend to do in a similar situation and apply the following special phrases:

I'm afraid...

I'm afraid Bill is still in a meeting.
Instead of: Bill can't talk to you right now.

I'm afraid we're going to go with the other product.
Instead of: We will not buy your product.

I'm sorry, but...

I'm sorry, but the hotel is full until the end of the week.
Instead of: We don't have any vacancy.

I'm sorry, but Sally was feeling ill and went home.
Instead of: Sally is not here now.


Actually, I'm speaking to someone on the other line right now.
Instead of: I can't talk to you right now.

Actually, I'm in the middle of a meeting now.
Instead of: Can't you see I'm busy?

**Remember, Spanish speakers: actually does not mean currently/presently; it means in fact/in reality.

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