Archive for October, 2011

Linking words and expressions

October 22nd, 2011 in Improve English

The expressions that is to say and at least can be used to back down from an unpleasant or negative remark you just made.

I am not going to talk to her again. Well, that’s to say, not unless she apologizes to me.

I’m afraid is used to introduce a polite refusal or bad news.

‘Could you please lend me a pound?’ ‘I’m afraid I can’t.’
‘Could I talk to Annie?’ ‘I’m afraid she is not in at the moment.’

I suppose can be used to enquire politely about something.

I suppose you are coming with us? (A polite way of asking: ‘Are you coming with us?’)

I suppose can also be used to express unwilling agreement.

‘Could you lend me a pound?’ ‘I suppose so.’

Or rather is used to correct oneself.

I’m going to London in May – or rather early June.
Let’s meet next Monday – or rather Tuesday.

I mean can be used in the same way.

I’m leaving on Monday – I mean Tuesday.

Gaining time

The expressions let me see, let’s see, I mean, kind of, sort of are also used when the speaker wants time to think.

‘How much are you asking for this?’ ‘Well, let me see…’