Updated: Jul 22
Being able to accept or decline an invitation in Spanish is a key skill that all students should learn. On certain occasions you may want to extend an invitation to your friends or colleagues, but may not know what phrases to use so as to sound warm and polite, yet formal at the same time. Also, at times you may want to accept an invitation and express gratitude for the same or decline one gracefully. In this lesson, we will learn how to make invitations, accept or decline them formally.
Decline an invitation
Have you ever received an invitation that you couldn't accept? Chances are, you have more than once. You've probably even sent invitations to people who had to turn you down.
Do you struggle with how to decline an invitation without hurting someone's feelings or causing conflict? Does it bother you to turn someone down?
There are ways you can decline any invitation if you do it with sincerity and show respect for the person who sent it to you. Remember that this is an invitation, not an order to be there. Of course, the person wants you to go, or they wouldn't have asked you to go. However, if you have other plans, or something else prevents you from attending, there is nothing wrong with declining.
So, here are some golden excuses which are used to decline an invitation in Spanish politely:
Expressions like “lo siento” or “desafortunadamente” make you sounds polite when turning down an invitation or suggestion for plans.
If you want to explain the reason of your refusal, you can use the phrase Tener que. Tener que + infinitive is one way to express obligation or necessity. This expression can be translated as “someone has to do something.”
In case you do not like the plan so much, but you still want to arrange something with your friend, you can propose an alternative plan.
Therefore, you can express your preference, using the following phrases:
- Yo prefiero + Infinitivo – I prefer to do
- Me gustaría + infinitivo – I would like to do
- Qué buena idea, pero… – It’s a good idea, but I would rather doing
Accept an invitation
If you like a lot your friends’ idea and you feel enthusiastic about the invitation, you can say:
- Sí, me gustaría mucho – Yes! I would love to!
- ¡Perfecto! – Perfect!
- !De acuerdo! !Fantástico! !Fenomenal! !Genial! – Great! Fantastic!
- !Con mucho gusto! – With pleasure
- Es una buena idea / Es una idea fantástica – It’s a great idea
- Me parece bien/estupendo/fenomenal –That is very good/ That is fantastic
Finally, if you need to know where and when to meet your friends, you should ask:
- ¿Dónde quedamos? – Where do we meet?
- ¿A qué hora quedamos? – At what time do we meet?
- ¿Podemos quedar sobre las …? – Could we meet around….?
- Prefiero quedar antes o después – I would prefer to meet a bit earlier or later…
Listening Activity No. 1: Excuses in Spanish
Listen to this episode Fernanda asks people in the streets of Ciudad de México about what are the excuses they most make when they don't want to do something. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the vocabulary learned. ¡Buena suerte!
Quiz Activity No. 2: Mucho que hacer
Read the following conversations containing invitations. Complete the sentences with words of phrases from the box. Some blanks will have more than one correct answer.
quieres, prefieres, te gustaría, Sí muchísimas gracias, ¡Claro que sí!, ¡Qué lástima!, lo siento pero no puedo, me gustaría, tal vez otro día, una cita, tengo que, ¡cómo no!, ya tengo planes.
- Hola, Paco, ¿____________(1) ir al cine esta noche?
- __________(2) Roberto, pero __________(3) tengo _______(4) con Marilú.
- Marta, ¿____________(5) ir a comer esta tarde?
- Sí, _____(6) ¿A qué hora?
- Angélica, ¿____(7) el tenis o el voleibol?
- Pues yo prefiero el voleibol
- ¿_________(8) jugar el sábado?
- ________(9). Yo __________(10) trabajar el sábado. Pero____(11).
Story + Video + Activities No. 3: Redes sociales
This resource includes a short reading about four friends meet to "chat" in a cafe. Three of them are obsessed with their phones and are slaves to them. When Cárol, the fourth friend, arrives, she understands that there is a problem of dependence on social networks, a problem not only suffered by her friends. The reading includes great practice for accepting & declining an invitation in Spanish! We hope you find it very useful. Available in our store.
The reading includes: ❁ Learn formulas to propose and reject plans. ❁ Technology vocabulary ❁ Some cafeteria (profession, foods) vocabulary.
The reading is mostly written in PRESENT TENSE
Please check out the preview for a closer look!
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Hasta la vista
The Español Latino Team.