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SBS Learn English Bài 2: Từ chối lời mời | Giao thừa

SBS Việt ngữ

sbs learn english ep2

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Published 23 March 2022 at 2:14pm
By Josipa Kosanovic
Presented by Ala'a Al Tamimi, Minyue Ding, Kim Anh, Josipa Kosanovic
Source: SBS

Học tiếng Anh cùng SBS: Học cách từ chối các lời mời, đồng thời tìm hiểu bài hát truyền thống ngay trước đêm Giao thừa.

Published 23 March 2022 at 2:14pm
By Josipa Kosanovic
Presented by Ala'a Al Tamimi, Minyue Ding, Kim Anh, Josipa Kosanovic
Source: SBS

 giúp bạn nói, hiểu và kết nối ở Úc -.

Bài học này phù hợp với những người học từ trung cấp đến cao cấp. Sau khi nghe xong, hãy giải câu đố để kiểm tra bạn đã học được gì.

Learning notes

Lesson language objective:
How to decline an invitation

What to say when you can’t or don’t want to accept an invitation
  • Unfortunately, we’ll have to take a rain check on it because… 
  • I hate to turn down the invitation, but… 
  • I’m very sorry, I won’t be able to make it because... 
  • I’d love to come, but I’m already booked. I am going to… 

Colloquial expressions:

  • To turn over a new leaf means to start doing something in a new way. It can also mean that we are going to start behaving in a better, more socially acceptable way.  
  • guilty pleasure is an activity we enjoy doing but at the same time we are not proud of it. 
  • To start with a bang means something started in a very exciting and dramatic way.  

Holiday season vocabulary:
  • Festive season - also called the ‘holiday season’ is the period of the year leading up to and including the holidays
  • Celebration - a social gathering or enjoyable activity held to celebrate something
  • Wonderland - a place that is strange and very beautiful or exciting
  • Thongs – an Australian word to describe a type of rubber summer shoe held to the foot by two straps that meet between the first and second toes. These shoes are also called 'flip flops'.
  • Barbie – Australian slang for barbecue

Cultural information:
Auld Lang Syne is a popular song traditionally sung just before midnight on New Year's Eve in English-speaking countries around the world. The song comes from Scotland and its title in traditional English means Old Long Since. The words are about old friends coming together for a drink and remembering their adventures from the past. 

Sharing a song with my friends
Sharing a song with friends Source: Getty Images/ Vince Brophy


(Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript)

Hi, and thanks for joining me for the second episode of Learn English. My name is Josipa. 

I have invited some friends to help us learn some expressions we might find useful during the upcoming holidays. 

When I arrived in Australia it was during the festive season, and I’ll never forget how strange it felt. 

For someone coming from Europe,  December was always the month when I would put on extra layers of warm clothing.

But in Australia I was walking around in thongs looking for a summer dress for the New Years’ Eve celebration.  

I have to admit it felt a bit strange at the beginning. 

Outside was boiling hot, but shops were full of Christmas decorations with pine trees, fake snow and fake winter wonderlands.  

And then there was Santa Claus. I mean… the guy was wearing shorts and thongs, and in some shops, he was even riding a surfboard. 

He was definitely not the Santa I knew.  

But what Santa wore didn’t actually matter because I was happy to be here, and it felt like I was turning over a new leaf.  

Wait, I hope you don’t think I’m talking about reading a book.  

No Josipa, to turn over a new leaf means to start something new and fresh. 

We can also use this expression if we want to say that we are going to start behaving in a better way.  

Thanks Minyue, and Ala'a. 

Looks like my colleagues are very keen to help. Minyue is from SBS Chinese and Ala’a is from SBS Arabic.

So where was I… oh yes, let’s use this new expression in a sentence.  

I know! In 2022 I promise to turn over a new leaf by watching less television.  

During lockdown I watched a lot of TV crime shows. I knew that I should be working, but it was my guilty pleasure. 

Guys, do you know what a guilty pleasure means? 

It’s something we enjoy doing but at the same time we are not proud of it, so we feel guilty. 

Maybe we would even be embarrassed if other people found out about it. I have a friend who enjoys reading gossip magazines when she is alone at home. She doesn’t want anyone to know about it because she feels guilty about reading such things. 

And I know someone in the office who likes to eat chocolate when she thinks nobody is watching.  

Ok Minyue, I admit that I have more than one guilty pleasure. I mean who doesn’t, we all have them. Have a think … what’s yours?   

By the end of this episode, I would like you to learn how to say no to your guilty pleasures.  No, I’m just joking. I can’t help you with that! That’s entirely up to you.  

In this episode we are going to talk about how we can say no to an invitation to go somewhere where you can’t or don’t want to go.  


Why did she choose this topic? 

I know, I know,  you must think something is wrong with me. New Year’s Eve is around the corner, the COVID restrictions have eased and here I am trying to learn different ways how to say no to a party.  

But that’s exactly why! We have too many options. Everyone around me has different plans to celebrate the end of this year and the beginning of 2022 with a bang.  

Maybe she needs to explain that doing something with a bang means to do it in a way that is very exciting, dramatic – and that doesn’t necessarily include fireworks or parties.  

Yeah, some people come into the room with a bang – like my brother who can’t ever do anything quietly! You can do many things with a bang like, start a career with a bang if you get a great job. Or improve your speaking skills with a bang with this lesson as soon as Josipa gets to the point.  

Look, my point is that I have friends in Sydney but not that many, and my family is overseas. And still, I got invited to three different parties. 

Now you see why I will have to say no to some of my friends.  

I’m sure some of you feel the same way.  

I don’t! 

Me neither. 

Guys, not helping!   

Ok, I realised I’m not the only one with this problem while speaking with my other friends.  

And some of them used really interesting expressions to say "No, I can’t go" because in Australia it’s important to be polite and a bit sorry when declining an invitation. Otherwise, we might hurt our relationship with the other person or offend them.   

So let’s hear what my friends said, and after you listenwe’ll explain each of the new phrases they use. You can read along with the transcript on our website if you like.

We have a tradition of going on long hikes on New Year's Eve with my sister and her family. Unfortunately, this year we’ll have to take a rain check, because my husband hurt his ankle while gardening. Looks like we’ll just stay at home, grill prawns on the barbie in the backyard and enjoy the fireworks on television. 

My company is organising a big party. And although there are COVID safe measures in place, I still don’t feel comfortable being around that many people so, I explained it to my manager and said ‘I hate to turn down the invitation, but I live at home with my granny and don’t want to take the risk.

Friends from my mosque said that Mrs Macquarie's Point is the ultimate New Year’s Eve location. It offers amazing views of Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. But during the lockdown I didn’t work much, and the tickets are so expensive. So, I had to tell them that I’m very sorry but I won’t be able to make it because I can’t afford it. 

I promised my son we would go and watch the nine o’clock fireworks, so when our neighbours invited us to their New Year’s Eve party I had to say: "Mate, I’d love to come, but I’m already booked". And then I explained about the promise I made to my son. 

See what I mean. There are so many ways to decline an invitation without offending a person who is inviting us.  

Let’s start with my friend who can’t go on a traditional hike with his sister. He said,

Unfortunately, we’ll have to take a rain check because my husband hurt his ankle while gardening.

First, I thought he was talking about the weather.  

But no, to take a rain check means to politely say no to an offer with a suggestion that you may do it some other time.  

And by offering an explanation why he can’t go, my friend was being sincere, and he showed respect. 

Sometimes we tend to give details, even if they are not true, so we don’t hurt other person’s feelings.

To take a rain check is an informal expression, so use it with your friends, family or in any other casual settings.  

My other friend who is worried about COVID said,  

I hate to turn down the invitation, but I live at home with my granny and don’t want to take the risk.

If you are turning down an invitation, it means that you are not accepting it. You are basically refusing to go.  

"I hate to turn down the invitation" is a useful expression for formal settings, and you can use it to refuse an offer, request or an invitation like my friend who after thinking about how a crowded place would make her feel had to turn down the invitation for her company’s event.  

Then we heard another way to decline an invitation which can be used in both, formal and informal settings.  

I’m very sorry, but I won’t be able to make it.

This is a polite way of saying "I can’t come" or "I’m not going to go". And people say it very often. You can use it to say no to go to an event, meeting, party, date, appointment and so on…  

Remember my friend who is taking his son to watch the nine o’clock fireworks. He used an expression I've never heard before. He said,  

I’d love to come, but I’m already booked.

I knew you could book a table in a restaurant or a seat in a theatre, but I had no idea that a person can be booked.    

So, when somebody says that they are already booked they mean that their schedule is full. They already have something else planned for that time.  

Minyue, Ala’a are you guys still here? You are very quiet.  

Some good expressions there Josipa, I’m taking some notes.

I agree, give me a second to finish writing something. 

Ok, guys while I wait for you, I will play one special song. 

This song is called Auld Lang Syne and it comes from Scotland. And it’s a tradition for people in many English-speaking countries in the world, including Australia, to sing it at the end of New Year’s Eve gatherings.  

So, Minyue and Ala'a if you are done with your notes maybe we could practice singing it together. 

Hmmm… I’m going to have to turn down that invitation.  

And, l’ll have to take a rain check on it until…the next year? 

 để xem, cập nhật và đóng góp ý kiến.

Xin gửi lời cảm ơn sâu sắc đến chuyên gia tư vấn giáo dục của chúng tôi, Giáo sư Lynda Yates, và Natalie Oostergo, những người bạn Greg, Trudy, Zohra and Chris đã giúp lồng tiếng.

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