We might come across various situations (workplace, a formal meeting, or a conference) and talk to different people (Our manager, our university tutor, or ….) that requires us to be politer in our conversation in the aforementioned conditions. In this lesson, we are going to learn more formal phrases in English which will help us to behave more respectfully in our conversations with others.
Greeting Informal phrases
Informal expression for asking questions when you are greeting:
- What’s up?
- What’s new?
- How’s it going?
- How is everything?
Informal and common answers to these questions are:
- I’m fine. Thanks.
- Not bad.
- I don’t feel good.
Greeting formal phrases list
Instead, you can use more formal expressions for asking questions when you are greeting including:
- How is life treating you?
- What have you been to?
And in response, you can say:
- Pretty good (when you don’t feel so good)
- Not so great really
- I can’t complain
- Couldn’t be better
- Same old really
Thank someone formal phrases
Someone has done something for you and you want to thank him/her:
- Really appreciate that.
- I’m really grateful.
- That’s so kind of you.
And in response to someone’s appreciation you could say:
- You’re most welcome
- My pleasure
Asking for opinions formal phrases
Sometimes in a formal conversation, you want to ask someone’s opinion on an issue. In this situation you could use the following formal phrases in English and say:
- Can you give me your thoughts on … ?
- Do you (dis)approve of … ?
- Do you agree with the opinion that … ?
- Do you have any views on … ?
- Do you share the/my view that … ?
- I’d like (to hear) your views on …
If you agree with someone’s opinion, you could say:
- I agree 100%
- I couldn’t agree more
Formal phrases in English (Meeting)
Or in formal meeting:
- I approve of your idea
- I absolutely agree with your idea/that.
But if you intend to disagree with someone’s opinion in a respectful manner you should say:
- I’m not sure about that…
- That’s not how I see it…
- I don’t feel the same way…
- I’m afraid I don’t agree with you on that.
Or in a formal situation, you could say
- I see what you mean but …
- I understand your point of view but …
- I can see where you’re coming from but …
- I agree with you up to a point, however ….
- Respectfully, I have to disagree…
Boss: Come in Peter. What have you been up to recently?
Peter: Thanks. I can’t complain.
Boss: So, about the meeting, we are having this week. Have you prepared the presentation?
Peter: Yes. I have.
Boss: I appreciate your effort. But I think it might take a little long.
Peter: I understand what you mean but we should present our recent products if we want to sign the contract.
Boss: I agree with you to a point, however, we don’t need to explain them in detail.
Peter: Ok Mr. Smith. I will delete some of the slides.
Peter: My pleasure. Have a nice day.
How to interrupt someone politely?
- Do you mind if I add to that?
- Sorry to interrupt (for interrupting), but….
- May I interrupt you for just a minute …
- If I may interrupt you for a minute, I’d like to share my opinion on …
Formal phrases about checking someone’s sayings
- So, what you’re saying is that …
- So, what you want to know is that …
- Do you mean …
- In other words, what you’re saying is …
Or in a more formal situation, you could say:
- I’d like to confirm what you said …
- Excuse me, can I confirm that …
Talking about a heated or controversial issue in a formal way
- I know not everyone agrees with me…
- I know that is a contentious issue …
- It might be an unpopular opinion, but I strongly believe that …
- I don’t see eye to eye with everyone on this matter …
Ending conversation phrases in English
- Well, it was nice chatting with you ….
- Right, I need to get going (I’d better go)
- Well, I’d best be off.
- Anyway, I’d better get back to work …
A: I believe people should pay for their health care services and education. The government cannot pay for all these expenses. In my opinion …
B: May I interrupt you for just a minute? Respectfully, I disagree with your idea. People are paying their taxes. So government should provide education and healthcare for them.
A: I’d like to confirm what you said. You mean the government should pay for all education and health care costs?
B: Yes. It might be an unpopular opinion, but I strongly believe that health care and education should be completely free.
A: I think we don’t see eye to eye on this issue. However, it was nice chatting with you.
B: You too. Thanks for your time.
In this lesson, we learned about the formal phrases in English. As you know, there are formal and informal words in English that we should know how and when to use in our conversations. Our general English course covers a lot of vocabulary that every English speaker should know about. Take this great course and improve your English level.