How to turn down an invitation | Learn English | British Council

Practice exercise:

Have you ever been invited to a party that you didn’t want to go? Find out how to turn down unwanted invitations in the future.


Man: Oh no!

Woman: What is it?

Man: “Josh and Henrietta would like to have the pleasure of your company at a drinks party, next Saturday evening…”

Woman: Oh no, Josh and Henrietta… they’re not that couple who…?

Man: Yeah exactly! And it gets worse…

Woman: How?

Man: “Formal dress…”

Woman: Argh…. it means you’ve got to wear a suit….

Man: At the bottom it says “RSVP”. What does it mean?

Woman: You’ve got to reply.

Man: But I don’t want to go, so what can I say?

Woman: Tell them you’ve got a dentist’s appointment.

Man: Josh is my dentist!

Woman: Tell them it’s your grandmother’s 100th birthday party.

Man: But they know my granny died ages ago.

Woman: Tell them your dog’s sick and you’ve got to take him to see the vet.

Man: It’s no use — I’m just going to have to tell them the truth…

Woman: The truth? “I’m not coming to your birthday party because I think you’re boring and stupid?”

Man: Maybe not then…

Woman: Tell them this: “I’m unable to attend because I have a prior engagement.”

Man: “Prior engagement”?! And… they won’t be offended?

Woman: Absolutely not.

Man: Perfect!

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