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How to correct someone politely?

In this free English lesson I am going to share with you the most polite ways to correct someone and also what you should not say while correcting someone. You will learn some useful English phrases that you can use while speaking English.

Fairly polite – Phrases mentioned below are fairly polite. If you really want to be polite you could use these phrases:

I’m afraid that’s not quite right.

  • Example: If your friend is speaking in wrong English you can tell him/her “I’m afraid that’s not quite right.”

Actually, I think you’ll find that…

  • Situation: Actually, I think if you’ll look up in a grammar book, you’ll find that “is” is used for a singular.

LESS POLITE AND STRONGER- Phrases mentioned below are a little stronger and a little less polite.

I’m afraid you’re mistaken. – This phrase can be used when somebody is sharing wrong information.

  • Example: A overhears B telling C that  Steve Jobs is the founder of Microsoft then A can correct B saying “I’m afraid you’re mistaken but Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft.

I don’t think you’re right about –

  • Example: If your sister says that a McDonalds burger costs 2 $ you can reply to her saying “I don’t think you’re right about it, instead it costs 4 $ ”.

BLUNT AND VERY STRONG: You may upset the person you are talking to so you should be really sure about your own facts before you say one of these. (You should be 100% sure about what you’re saying)

No, you’ve got it wrong.

  • Example: If your daughter gets you a math problem that she has solved wrongly, you can reply to her saying “No, you’ve got it wrong”.

If you check your facts, you’ll find…

  • Example: If you check your facts you’ll find that China is the most populated country in the world. (Over a general knowledge question)


Rubbish! / You’re talking rubbish. – Extremely RUDE

Where did you hear that? – INSULTING

  • Example: You drink coffee regularly and one of your colleague tells you that coffee is bad for health, if you respond saying “where did u hear that?” it will be very insulting and your colleague will feel offended.

No, that’s all wrong. – TOO HARSH

Golden rules for correcting someone

  1. PRIVATE: Correction, should always take place privately or if in a classroom it should be done anonymously (shouldn’t name).
  2. GENTLE: Correction should be done with love and in a soft tone of voice.
  3. EXPLANATORY: Correction should always include an explanation of why you feel the correcting was needed.

Before correcting someone, especially when correcting them publicly, ask yourself this question: Will the information I give by correcting the person bring about enough “good” to offset the embarrassment the other person will feel? Only if the answer is yes should you proceed. Correction that will have the person thanking you instead of resenting you is appropriate.

Share with your folks!


2 thoughts on “How to correct someone politely?”

  1. enricotoni2000 says:

    Hi Michelle! It seems to me that your lessons are equally useful both for a better English knowledge and for more suitable behaviours in everyday life. Listening to you is a real pleasure. Thanks, miss you.

  2. sachinkaushik says:

    Hi Michelle,
    These phrase are quite useful.
    Please check with your director, sound level in your video is low. I mean to say i`ve to raise volume of my phone while hearing you and that is not the case with Ms Niharika`s/ Ms Ceema`s videos. I hope this little technical problem can be solved.
    Thank you.

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