How to Accept and Refuse Invitations in English

Making, accepting or refusing an invitation is always tricky: finding the right words in English to do so with tact is essential.


Formal Situation

Invitations:

  • Would you like to…
  • I’d very much like you to…
  • We should be pleased/delighted if you could…
  • Would you care to …
  • You will … won’t you?

Accepting:

  • That’s very kind of you
  • We’d very much like to…
  • What a delightful idea.
  • With the greatest pleasure.
  • Thank you very much for inviting me.

Refusing:

  • I’m very sorry, I don’t think I can.
  • I’d like to, but…
  • I’m afraid I’ve already promise …
  • Thank you for asking me, but …
  • Unfortunately I can’t …

Informal Situation

Invitations:

  • Why don’t you come to …
  • Like to come to …
  • Shall we come to …
  • You must come to …
  • How about tomorrow morning?
  • Let’s meet at … o’clock.

Accepting:

  • I would/will ...
  • That would be nice.
  • I’d like to love to come.
  • All right (then).
  • I’ll come I promise.
  • I’ll be there.

Refusing:

  • Sorry, I can’t.
  • I’d love to, but …
  • I don’t think I can.
  • I wish I can, but …
  • Sorry, I don’t think I can make it.
  • I’m so sorry I can’t make it.

Examples: Making, Accepting & Declining an invitation in English

Invitations:

  1. Will you join me for coffee?
  2. I’m going out for a bite to eat. Would you like to join me?
  3. Could we have lunch together one day?
  4. Would you like to come to the cinema with me tonight?
  5. We’re all going to watch the parade later on. Care to join us?
  6. We’re having a party next weekend. Would you like to come?
  7. How about coming to the barbecue at the tennis club?
  8. I’ve got two tickets for a concert on Friday. Would you like to come?

Accepting:

  1. I’d love to. Thanks
  2. I’d be happy to. Thanks
  3. With pleasure.
  4. Sure, I’d love to.
  5. Sure! Good idea!
  6. I’d love to. Thanks.
  7. Sure! That should be fun!
  8. Super! I’d love to.

Refusing:

  1. Sorry. I’m afraid I don’t have time.
  2. Sorry. I’m meeting a friend for lunch.
  3. I’d love to but I’m very busy at the moment.
  4. Sorry, I can’t. I’ve got other plans.
  5. Nice of you to ask me but I’ve got an appointment.
  6. What a pity. I’m away next weekend.
  7. Sounds great but I’m afraid I’m not free.
  8. I’m tied up on Friday. Sorry.

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Comments 1

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  1. Great work of great team (all of you ESLB tutors)! And I am particularly thankful that you show the diversity of/the difference between formal and informal English (and between BE and AE, mainly, when you do that, as well)!

How to Accept and Refuse Invitations in English

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