Common Polite Expressions

  • ‘All the best’
  • ‘See you soon’
  • ‘Mind how you go’
  • ‘Have a nice day’
  • ‘How do you do?’
  • ‘You’re welcome’


  1.  Sorry.
  2.  I’m (so / very / terribly) sorry.
  3.  Ever so sorry.
  4. How stupid / careless / thoughtless of me.
  5. Pardon (me)
  6. That’s my fault.
  7.  Sorry. It was all my fault.
  8. Please excuse my (ignorance)

Asking about health/Life

  1. How are you?
  2. How are things?
  3. How’s things?
  4. How’s it going?
  5. How are you getting on?
  6. How have you been?
  7. What have you been (getting) up to?
  8. I hope everything’s okay?
  9. Alright?
  10. How have you been keeping?

Asking for approval

  1. Do you think it’s all right to do it?
  2. What do you think about (me doing that)?
  3. Do you think / reckon I ought to (do it)?
  4. What would you say if I (did it)?
  5. Would you approve of (doing something)?
  6. What is your attitude to the idea of…
  7. Are you in favour of (me doing something)?
  8. You are in favour of … aren’t you?
  9. Do you think anyone would mind if I…
  10. Do you think it would be really awful if I

Asking for information

  1. Can you tell me…?
  2. Could you tell me…?
  3. I’d like to know…
  4. D’you know…
  5. (Got / Have you) any idea…?
  6. Could anyone tell me…?
  7. (Do / Would) you happen to know…?
  8. I don’t suppose you (would) know…?
  9. I wonder if you could tell me…?
  10. I wonder if someone could tell me…?

Giving an opinion

  1. I reckon…
  2. I’d say…
  3. Personally, I think…
  4. What I reckon is…
  5. If you ask me…
  6. The way I see it…
  7. As far as I’m concerned…
  8. If you don’t mind me saying…
  9. I’m utterly convinced that…
  10. In my humble opinion…

Have a guess

  1. Off the top of my head, I think she’s 26.
  2. Knowing (the English), he likes football.
  3. If I had to take a guess, I’d say she’s 26
  4. I’d say she’s 26.
  5. Chances are she’s 26.
  6. At a guess, I’d say she’s 26.
  7. Probably about 26.
  8. We’re talking maybe late twenties.
  9. About 6-ish
  10. Around about 6 o’clock

Mixed feelings

  1. happy / contented / delighted
  2. sad / depressed
  3. amused
  4. excited
  5. frightened / afraid / terrified
  6. worried / anxious
  7. tired / sleepy
  8. angry / annoyed
  9. disappointed

On the phone

  1. Leave a message.
  2. Hi Simon, it’s Anna.
  3. Did you get my message?
  4. Can I speak to Rob, please?
  5. Hi, Jenny. Where are you?
  6. Thanks for getting back to me.
  7. Leave a message after the beep
  8. What’s your number?
  9. I’m returning your call.

What you hear at the airport

  1. What is the purpose of your trip?
  2. Did you pack this bag yourself?
  3. Please do not leave any bags unattended.
  4. Do you have anything to declare?
  5. Flight BA333 is now boarding.
  6. Flight UA666 has been cancelled.
  7. Flight SA999 has been delayed.
  8. Would passenger Jo Page please come to…
  9. This is the final call for flight BA111 to
  10. ….please make your way to Gate 99.


  1. It’s probably going to rain tomorrow.
  2. There’s a (good) chance it’ll rain…
  3. In all probability, it’ll rain…
  4. The odds are it’ll rain tomorrow.
  5. I wouldn’t be surprised if it rained…
  6. There’s a fifty-fifty chance of rain…
  7. It’s quite likely it’ll rain…
  8. It may / might / could rain tomorrow.
  9. Maybe it’ll rain tomorrow.
  10. There’s (just) a chance it’ll rain

Remembering things

  1. remember…
  2. I can (clearly) remember…
  3. I’ll never forget…
  4. As far as I can remember…
  5. As I recall…
  6. If I remember correctly…
  7. If I’m not / Unless I’m – mistaken…
  8. Now I come to think of it…
  9. I have a vague recollection of…
  10. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

Reminding people to do things

  1. Don’t forget to do it.
  2. Remember to do it.
  3. You will remember to do it.
  4. You won’t forget to do it, will you?
  5. Can / Could I remind you to…?
  6. I’d like to remind you about…
  7. You haven’t forgotten about __, have you?
  8. I hope you haven’t forgotten to…
  9. Sorry to be a bore but do remember to…
  10. May I remind you / all passengers that…

Saying somebody is correct

  1. Yes, that’s right.
  2. You’re quite right.
  3. Yes, that’s correct.
  4. That’s spot on.
  5. You’re dead right (there).
  6. Absolutely.
  7. You’ve hit the nail on the head.
  8. You could say so.
  9. I’m afraid so.
  10. (I’m) sorry to say so.

Saying somebody is wrong

  1. I’m afarid that’s not quite right.
  2. Actually, I think you’ll find that…
  3. I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
  4. I don’t think you’re right about…
  5. Actually, I don’t think…
  6. No, you’ve got it worng.
  7. No, that’s all wrong.
  8. Rubbish! / You’re talking rubbish.
  9. Where did you hear that?
  10. If you check your facts, you’ll find…

Saying something is difficult

  1. It’s not so easy..
  2. It’s a bit tricky..
  3. It’s not the easiest ___ in the world..
  4. It’s quite tough at times..
  5. It’s (quite / a bit) hard going..
  6. It’s nigh on impossible..
  7. The course is quite demanding.
  8. The course can be gruelling at times
  9. It isn’t a walk in the park
  10. It’s not a course for the faint-hearted.

Saying that something is easy

  1. It’s a doddle.
  2. Easy peasy.
  3. It’s a cinch.
  4. There’s nothing to it.
  5. Anyone can do it.
  6. It’s childsplay.
  7. It’s a walk in the park.
  8. It’s not rocket science.
  9. It’s easy as pie / easy as a,b,c
  10. I can do it with my eyes shut

Saying things are good

  1. It’s great.
  2. It’s fantastic.
  3. It’s excellent.
  4. It’s better than average.
  5. It’s not bad.
  6. I’d recommend it.
  7. I’m very impressed.
  8. It’s better than I expected.
  9. It’s the best I’ve ever seen / tasted
  10. I could ___ till the cows come home.

Saying you are unwell

  1. Not too good.
  2. Not so great.
  3. A little under the weather.
  4. A bit rough.
  5. A bit the worse for wear.
  6. Much the same as yesterday.
  7. A bit better.
  8. As well as can be expected.
  9. (I feel) lousy.
  10. Bloody awful.

Saying you are unwell

  1. Sorry. I don’t know.
  2. (I’m afraid,) I’ve no idea.
  3. (Sorry,) I can’t help you there.
  4. I don’t know anything about..(cars)
  5. I don’t know the first thing about (cars)
  6. I haven’t got a clue.
  7. Search me.
  8. Don’t ask me.
  9. What are you asking me for?
  10. How the hell should I know?

Talking about good ideas

  1. That’s a great idea.
  2. That’s an idea.
  3. Good idea!
  4. What a great idea!
  5. I think that’s a fantastic idea.
  6. I like that idea.
  7. I like the idea of that.
  8. That’s not a bad idea.
  9. You know what? That’s a good idea.
  10. Cool!

Telling people your job

  1. I’m a hairdresser.
  2. I’m in hairdressing.
  3. I work as a hairdresser.
  4. I’m a professional hairdresser.
  5. I do a bit of hairdressing.
  6. I’m in the hairdressing business.
  7. I cut hair (for a living).
  8. I work for a hairdressers.
  9. My day job is hairdressing.
  10. I earn my living as a hairdresser

Expressing dislike

  1. I don’t really like classical music.
  2. Classical music is not very me.
  3. Classical music is not my style.
  4. Classical music doesn’t do anything for me
  5. Classical music is not my thing.
  6. I’m not into classical music.
  7. Classical music sucks.
  8. I’m not much of a classical music fan.
  9. I never listen to classical music.
  10. You can keep classical music.


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