At times we need to criticize something or someone with whom we disagree. Saying directly may offend people or you might sound rude in English, especially when English is not your first language. In this spoken English practice lesson with Michell you will learn Polite English phrases to criticize or disagree with someone. These English phrases would be extremely useful in your daily conversation to say something politely without sounding Rude in English. This English lesson is perfect for both basic English and Advanced English speakers to practice English conversation phrases.
Complete Lesson Transcript : –
Whether you’re a teacher, a student or a Businessman you cannot go about without criticizing people. Criticism is one of the most important thing that we do in our daily life. But it’s not a really good idea to be very harsh when you’re criticizing, so therefore today I have got some very useful phrases for you that you can use when you’re criticizing someone. But all of these phrases will help you, soften the criticism which means that you can criticize but at the same time not hurt anyone. So how useful is that gonna be for you? So keep watching this session with me, my name is Michelle. Now here we have a set of phrases with us that we are going to use to soften the criticism. The first phrase that we have is, “I have to say…” Alright, so this is a kind of phrase that you will use when you think that what you’re going to say, may make someone upset or it could annoy someone. For example, if you tell someone that you didn’t like their performance, maybe one of your employees, if you didn’t like his performance, you could say, “I have to say, but your performance was quite disappointing.” This way, when you say it, it’s not very harsh and you’ve made your point also. You also have an alternative to this which is, “I’m bound to say…” I’ll write it for you here. This contraction is short for ‘I am’ and when you’re speaking, you don’t speak the full words you say, ‘I’m’. So, “I’m bound to say that your performance was pretty disappointing.” So here you’re making your comment and the other person will not feel too bad although you’ve made your point. The word ‘bound’ means same as ‘have’, which means that it’s a necessity. So it’s a necessity that you have to make your comment and criticize the other person. Right, now with this we look at the next phrase and this is, “with respect”. So this phrase is used when you want to disagree with someone and criticize them. So if you’re speaking to your boss and your boss asks you to do something unreasonable, ‘unreasonable’ means that something which is not fair and which is not correct. So if your boss tells you to go online and post false comments about him like, ‘oh, he’s such a great boss’ etc., etc. So that’s obviously not fair, isn’t it? So if you want to reply that person you could say that, with respect or “with all due respect Mr. Davis, I think your request is quite unreasonable.” So here you’re giving a lot of respect to the person but you’re also criticizing and putting your point across. So ‘with respect’ or ‘with all due respect’, this phrase is used to disagree with someone. When you don’t agree with what they have asked you to do. Okay, now here we have the next phrase and this is, “to say the least”. Okay so the word ‘least’ talks about the quantity of something and least, another form of least is ‘less’, this is a superlative which means as the maximum form of less. So if you have had a very bad experience and you want to put it briefly, it means that maybe you want to tell how bad it was but you don’t put it out straightaway but you want to put it in simple words and you’re telling the least about it. So let’s say you had a really bad and uncomfortable flight, the crew did not treat you well, they do not hear you, when you press the bell and when you needed something, they didn’t get you and even the flight was quite rocky… so in that case you could say, “I must say I had a rather uncomfortable flight, to say the least.” So here you are using the word uncomfortable whereas your experience was way too extreme, it was uncomfortable, they didn’t hear you, they didn’t pay any attention to you… So “to say the least” is used when you’re talking about an extreme experience. There’s another alternative to it and that is, “to put it mildly”. ‘To put it mildly’, ‘mild’ means ‘soft’ or a lesser version of something. So if you want to tell something that happened with you in a lesser quantity or in a lesser intensity you could say, to put it mildly. Alright, now with this we move to the next phrase, “shall we say”. When do we use this? So, ‘shall we say’ is usually used in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a sentence. This is used to make a statement sound less offensive. So maybe you’re participating in a training and you think that the experience the workshop, the training workshop is quite boring, but you don’t want to say it out loud and very clearly, you don’t want to sound very outright, so that’s when you will use this phrase in the middle of the sentence. You could say, “the training is, shall we say quite dull” which means that you’re not enjoying it, it’s very boring. So ‘shall we say’ is usually used in the middle of a sentence to make it sound less offensive and less rude. Okay now here we are at the next phrase and this is, “don’t get me wrong”. So as you can guess it, you don’t want someone to get you wrong, which means that you want them to get you right. This means that you want them to understand the point of your comment. Let me give you an example, if your boyfriend asks you to meet his girlfriend and maybe three of you went out together, you met her but when you come back he asks you for an opinion about her, like what do you think about Katherine, what do you think? Did you like her? And you would say, “don’t get me wrong, I really like Katherine as a person but I don’t think she’s right for you.” So here you want your friend to focus on the second part which is that you don’t think that, Katherine is right for your friend, however you think that she’s a great person. So ‘don’t get me wrong’ is used when you want someone to understand the point of your comment. To understand the point of your comment. So you want someone to get you right and to not get you wrong. Okay the next phrase we have is, “how shall I put it…” So this phrase is similar to ‘shall we say’ but it’s not used essentially in the middle of a sentence or you can even use it in the beginning of a sentence and you know, it’s actually made a spoken so that you know your comment is not very rude and at the same time if you’re saying something honest, if you’re being honest about something, you don’t want anyone to get hurt or you don’t want them to feel bad, so that’s how you use, “how shall I put it, but I think Katherine is a little difficult to get along with.” So here you’re trying to be honest while not trying to be rude. So this one is used to be honest and you could also say, “shall I put it this way that Katherine is a bit rude.” So you can obviously say, ‘shall I put it this way’, so you could either say, ‘how shall I put it…’ or ‘shall I put it this way…’ that Katherine is a bit difficult to get along with. Now we have the next phrase and that is, “without wishing to”. So this phrase is used when you are going to tell someone something that they may not like. So we always say it with ‘hurt’, with the word ‘hurt’. So you could say, “Without wishing to hurt your feelings, I think you should lose some weight.” So here you’re making a comment that someone may not like, obviously if you’re telling someone to lose their weight, they’ll not like it at the first instance but there later on they might think that what you said is correct, so you could say ‘without wishing to hurt your feelings’. Here you’re trying to be soft, gentle and mild. You’re trying to not hurt someone’s feelings and making it very clear that my intention is not to hurt you but I think you should lose some weight. Now we look at the last phrase that we have for the day, “to be fair”. So sometimes we meet people who may have done something incorrect or you know recently performed bad but maybe they’re a really good employee and recently they performed bad, so for that person you will use, ‘to be fair’ in the middle of a sentence to talk about their good qualities while criticizing them. So if you’re making a negative comment and you also tell their quality, that’s when use to be fair. An example of this would be, “Vicky’s performance this time was quite poor but to be fair he’s a very good employee.” So like this you’re giving him a compliment and you’re still criticizing this will make them feel much better. So ‘to be fair’ is used when giving a compliment with criticism. We also have another alternative to this and that is, ‘to give someone their dues’. ‘Dues’ is something that you have not yet paid. The same way if you have not paid a compliment to a person you can do it right now when you’re criticizing them. You could say that, “though she never calls me but to give her, her dues she always remembers my birthday.” So you criticize the fact that she doesn’t call you, while you appreciate the fact that she always remembers your birthday. So the alternative would be, ‘to give her, her dues’. Alright so here we are at the end of this amazing lesson where you have learned different phrases for criticizing people and I hope that next time when you criticize someone you’re not too blunt and don’t make them feel hurt. You can use phrases like, ‘without wishing to hurt’ their feelings or ‘to be fair’ and give them a compliment. So thank you so much for watching this session with me, please come back for more lessons, bye-bye.