36 Making EXCUSES – podcast episode 36 – transcript

How to politely say “no” and make an excuse in English.

Here’s the transcript.  

All the best,  


Listen to the episode on iTunes or here:



M- Today we’re talking about ‘’Making Excuses’’

C- Hi Marta! How are you?

M- I’m great thanks!

C- You’ve had a really busy week, haven’t you? Congratulations on your new EP! It’s a fantastic CD!

M- Thank you! I’m very attached to this album. Everyone of these songs means a lot to me.

C- Hey, let’s go out for a nice lunch tomorrow. My treat, I’ll pay for it.We’ll celebrate the release of your new album!

M- Oh thank you, Cindy, I would really love to go out for lunch but I have a lot on my plate right now. September is a very busy month for me. Can I get a rain check?

C- Sure, no problem. I understand. To ‘’HAVE A LOT ON YOUR PLATE’’ means to have a full schedule, to have many commitments or problems at one time.

M- To have a lot on your plate…that’s my life!

C- You need to start buying smaller plates! So, we’ll take a RAIN CHECK on lunch- that means we’ll postpone lunch for another time when you are less busy.

M- A rain checkto postpone to a later date. Got it.

C- and…

M- AND, IT’S YOUR TREAT that means you’re going to pay for it! I have witnesses!

C- yes, you do have witnesses- all over the world! I’m happy to pay for lunch, you’ve worked really hard and this is an excellent album.

M- Thank you and I’m happy to share it with the world finally!

C – So, how can we find it?

M – It’s available on iTunes! Just search for “12n” that’s the name of my acoustic duo, it stands for TWELVE NOTES (dodici note, doce notas, douze notes). 12n. 1 2 n (website: www.12n.biz ) ** So we’re talking about how to make excuses to people today.

C- Right, sometimes we have to say ‘’no’’ to people or ‘’TURN SOMEONE DOWN’’ (that means to reject or refuse) and we need to say ‘’no’’ politely without being rude.

M- …without hurting someone’s feelings and making them feel bad.

C- Right, so today we’ll give you a few examples on how to pardon yourself, make an excuse or say ‘’no’’

M- Politely and without lying!

C- Right, because we don’t want to encourage anyone to lie! Where should we begin?

M- How about the phone?

C- Good idea since we all live on our phones nowadays. Let’s give an example of how to excuse yourself and interrupt a phone conversation. Have you got a telephone?

M- Sure, one moment…

C- I’ll pretend to phone you and you’ll politely make an excuse and offer to call me back later.

M- Do I have to call you back?

C- Yes.


C- (talking very fast) Hi Marta, it’s Cindy…listen, you’re totally not going to believe the day I’ve had…it was AWFUL!…First, I got stuck in traffic and I was like 20 minutes late to work and I totally had a good excuse for being late but my boss didn’t want to believe me and my coworkers are like whatever you’re like always late so like we totally do not believe a word you’re saying and I’m all “it’s true!”

M- Wow.

C- Yeah, but listen that’s not the worst of it because like at lunch they totally messed up my food order and I had to go back twice and I’m all….

M- Cindy, I’m sorry, excuse me…

C- What? Was I talking too fast? Do you want me to start over, from the beginning?

M- NO!!… I mean…no, that’s okay. Listen, dear, I’m sorry you’ve had a tough day.

C- Awful day!

M- Right, awful day…I’m sorry, I’ve got a lot to get done today. I’VE GOT MY HANDS FULL at the moment. Can I call you back a little later?

C- Oh sure, any time.

M- Thanks…I’ll give you a ring later…

C- Good, ‘cause you’re totally gonna want to hear what happened to me this afternoon….

M- I’m sure…talk to you later, dear….

C- Don’t forget! You won’t believe it!

M- I promise…I’ll call you later….Bye!

C- You’re not going to call me back. Just admit it.

M- No. I’m not going to call you back. Now let’s give everyone another example of an excuse.

C- Alright, how about an excuse that you girls can use at the disco? Sometimes we’re asked to dance by a guy we don’t want to dance with. Perfect. Now we’re going to need a little help here from our friend Freddie.

Freddie- Hello!

C- Hi Freddie. So, Freddie is a nice guy.

Freddie- I’m a nice guy.

C- And it takes some balls to approach a girl in a disco and ask her to dance, so let’s be polite and let him down easy. To ‘’LET SOMEONE DOWN EASY’’ is to say no, reject, disappoint or give bad news to someone gently to ‘’let them down easy’’.

Freddie- Would you like to dance?

C- I’m sorry, thank you, but I’m hanging out with my girlfriends tonight.

Freddie- Ok, bye

C- Thanks, for helping out Freddie

Freddie- No problem. Any time.

C- I’m hanging out with my girlfriends tonight. That’s it.

M- Tolet them down easy. Cindy, how about when you’re having a conversation in person? How can we excuse ourselves and end the conversation?

C- First of all, be sincere and let people know that you really do enjoy talking with them, but you have to go. Then, you can use phrases like:





M- Well, Cindy, I think we should really get going now.

C- Thanks for listening everyone! Come and catch up with us later on our Facebook page, iTunes, Podomatic, Twitter, YouTube and on our blog at www.myAmericanfriendblog.com . We are also available for private lessons via Skype, just email us at myamericanfriendpodcast at gmail.com and we’ll respond with all the details.

M- Thanks everyone!

C- Are you going to call me later?

M- No! I am not going to call you later.

C- Come on! Just call me.

M- No! Oh look…there’s someone more interesting at my door right now

C- That’s a fake doorbell! You’ve got an app for it!

M- Sorry, gotta run!



1. It’s my treat/I’m treating– I’m paying for it.

EXAMPLE: Let’s go out for a nice lunch tomorrow.

ANSWER: Sorry, I can’t go anywhere. I’m broke and my paycheck won’t arrive for another week.

ANSWER: Don’t worry! It’s my treat. Lunch is on me. I’ll pay for it.

2. I have a lot on my plate right now- I have a lot of commitments or problems right now.

EXAMPLE: Hey, let’s go to the movies this weekend!

ANSWER: Sorry, I can’t go out this weekend. I have a lot on my plate right now. I’m studying for final exams and babysitting my little sister while my parents are out of town. Maybe we could go out next week instead?

3. to take a ‘’rain check’’to reschedule for a later date.

EXAMPLE: Don’t forget we’re all getting together at the pub Friday night.

ANSWER: Sorry, I’ll have to take a rain check. My car is at the mechanic. I’ll catch up with you at the pub next time.

4. to ‘’turn someone down’’/ to get ‘’turned down’’- to be rejected, refused

EXAMPLE: John asked me out on a date last week, but I turned him down because I’m not attracted to him.

EXAMPLE: I turned down the new job offer. The salary is good, but it would take me away from my family and I would really miss my wife & kids. I’ll stay with my present job until something better comes along.

5. to hurt someone’s feelings- to insult or hurt someone emotionally.

EXAMPLE: Susan & I had a big argument at work. I said a lot of things that were nasty & hurtful to her. I’m afraid I have hurt her feelings and our friendship is broken beyond repair. I don’t think she will ever forgive me.

6. I’ve got my hands full-to have a lot of commitments or problems at one time.

EXAMPLE: I’ve got my hands full at work. Three employees are out sick, so I’m doing their jobs in addition to my own!

7. I’ll give you a ring- I’ll call you.

EXAMPLE: Would you like to go out this weekend? Give me your phone number and I’ll give you a ring sometime tomorrow.

8. let them down easy- to reject, disappoint or give bad news gently without trying to hurt someone’s feelings.

EXAMPLE: We gave the promotion to Susan instead of Barbara. It was a big disappointment to Barbara, so I had to let her down easy and carefully explain why we had chosen Susan over Barbara.

9. Phrases to end a conversation:

‘’I’m sorry, I need to run. Can we talk later?’’ or

‘’I’m running late, can I catch up with you/email /text you later?’’ or

‘’I should really get going now’’ or

‘’I’m going to have to cut this short, can I give you a ring later?’’

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