It is not a secret that if you want to master the English language, you have to know a wide range of phrases you can use to express something. The English language has a very developed phraseology. In that sense, I will try to help you learn some very useful phrases for making, accepting and refusing invitations in English so that your English gets even closer to native.
When we make an invitation, we usually ask someone to join us for a particular event such as a meal, a party or some activity. In this lesson, we will be learning useful phrases to help you invite someone for an event or activity, as well as different ways to accept or decline an invitation.
How to ask people about their arrangements
First of all, we need to ask people about their arrangements to check if they are available. We can do that in the following ways:
- Are you free on Saturday morning?
- Are you doing anything tonight?
- What are you doing after work?
- Do you have any arrangements for the weekend?
How to make an invitation
We can invite people in more or less formal ways depending on who we are inviting and what’s the occasion. But the main phrases to use are these:
Do you want to…?
- Do you want to join us for a drink after work?
- Do you want to join us for a game of badminton?
Would you like…?
- Would you like to come to the concert with us?
- Would you like to play netball on the beach?
Why don’t you/we…?
- Why don’t we go for a picnic on Saturday?
- Why don’t you come with us on a city break to Barcelona?
- Let’s play tennis on Sunday morning!
- Let’s throw a party. I’ve graduated!
- How about a cup of coffee?
- How about going to the pub tonight?
We can use all kinds of different phrases to invite someone, such as:
- Would you be interested in joining us tomorrow? We’re celebrating my father’s retirement.
- Do you feel like coming for a meal at our house on Sunday? We’re having some friends around.
- I invite you to my birthday party on Thursday evening.
- I was wondering if you could join us for a game of cards?
- I’d like to ask you if you could come to my daughter’s wedding next weekend.
- We would be very pleased if you could join us.
How to accept an invitation
It is a good idea to accept the invitation with “thank you”. For example:
- Thanks, I’d be glad.
- Thank you, I’d love to.
- Thank you very much, I would be honoured.
Here are some more phrases for accepting invitations:
- That sounds great / lovely / super / fun
- I’d love to, thanks!
- It’s very kind of you / You are very kind.
- Sure, I’d love to.
- What a great idea. What time?
- With pleasure!
- I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
How to refuse an invitation
There are many different ways to refuse an invitation, but try to give a reason for it.
- Sorry, I can’t. I have some other plans / arrangements.
- I’m afraid I can’t because I’m looking after my sister’s children.
- I don’t want to sound rude but my parents are visiting me on Saturday.
- I’d love to but I’m really busy.
- Thanks for your invitation but I have to study for the test.
- Maybe some other time.
Here are some conversation examples:
A: Are you free on Sunday afternoon?
B: Yes, I am. Why do you ask?
A: Well, my husband and I are having some friends around for lunch. Would you like to come?
B: Yes, sure. I’d love to. What time?
A: 2 pm.
B: Should I take something?
B: No, thanks, that won’t be necessary.
A: Do you have any arrangements for the weekend?
B: Well, I’m writing a report for work.
A: I was wondering if you could come to London with us.
B: I’d love to but I’m really busy. Thanks anyway. Maybe some other time.
How to write an invitation
Don’t forget that you can make invitations in written form as well. In that case, your letter (or an email) can be more or less formal depending on who you are writing to, and you can use the following phrases:
- I’m writing to invite you…
- We are organizing a party, and we would love it if you could come…
- We would be honoured if you could join us…
- You are invited to attend / we invite you…
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