spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Exercise 8: Refusals

Examples: Alerting the hearer as to the upcoming refusal

1. せっかくですが、その日は予定がありまして。  Sekkaku desuga, sonohiwa yoteiga arimashite.  ‘I’m sorry (that I have to refuse) but I have plans for that day.’

2. あいにくですが、欠席させていただきます。  Ainiku desuga, kesseki sasete itadaki masu.  ‘It’s too bad, but I’m going to have to be absent.’

3. いやあ実は、このごろすっごく忙しくて時間とれそうにないんだよね。  Iyaa jituswa, konogoro suggoku isogashikute jikan toresouni nain dayone.  ‘Well, actually I’ve been very busy these days, and it doesn’t seem possible for me to take the time (for your request/invitation).’

4. 悪いんだけど、あしたはちょっと。  Waruin dakedo, ashitawa chotto.  ‘I feel bad (I’m sorry) but tomorrow is sort of (inconvenient/impossible).’

Examples: Speaking hesitantly

1. あの、今ちょっと予定がつまっておりまして・・  Ano, ima yoteiga tsumatte orimashite   ‘Um, our schedule is sort of tight now...

2. いやー、その日はちょっと・・  Iyaa, sonohiwa cyotto ‘Well, that day is sort of (inconvenient/impossible)...

3. うーん、ちょっと無理みたい  Uun, chotto muri mitai.  ‘Well, it seems sort of impossible.’

4. ちょっと難しいですね。  Chotto muzukashii desune.  ‘It is a little difficult.’

5. あ、それはちょっと大変だ  A, sorewa chotto taihenda.  ‘Oh, that’s a little hard.

[Although these two expressions above are indirect in their literal sense and euphemistic, they are sometimes used as a refusal.  Unless the speaker provides more information or an alternative, s/he might mean no.]

Example: Communicating positive feelings

1. 私もぜひごいっしょさせていただきたいのですが  watashimo zehi goissho sasete itadaki taino desuga  ‘I’d love to join you, but’

2. いいですね。  Iidesune.  ‘That sounds good.’

3. 楽しそう!  Tanoshisou!  ‘Sounds like fun!’

Examples: Apologizing

1. 本当にすみませんが  hontouni sumimasenga  ‘I’m really sorry, but’

2. せっかくお誘いいただいたのに申し訳ありません。Sekkaku osasoi itadaita noni moushiwake arimasen.  ‘I’m sorry (that I have to refuse) despite your invitation.’

3. ごめん、その日は多分無理。  Gomen, sonohiwa tabun muri.   ‘I’m sorry, it’s probably impossible (to do it) that day.’


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