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  • (upbeat music)

  • - Hello everyone, and welcome back to English with Lucy.

  • Today we are going to talk about

  • alternatives for one of the most hated phrases

  • in the English language.

  • No offence.

  • Is there a more offensive phrase than no offence?

  • When somebody says no offence,

  • but you know they're going to follow that

  • with something offensive.

  • It's just the way people are.

  • So I have 11 alternatives for you

  • that you can use to give criticism politely.

  • So this video is perfect for improving your vocabulary,

  • but if you want to improve your listening skills

  • and your pronunciation skills even further,

  • then I highly recommend the special method

  • of reading a book whilst listening

  • to the audiobook version on Audible.

  • It sounds a bit odd, but let me explain.

  • It's a really good method.

  • Take a book that you have already read in English

  • or a book that you would like to read in English and read it

  • whilst listening to the audiobook version on Audible.

  • Reading alone will not help you with your pronunciation.

  • The way a word is spelled in English

  • doesn't necessarily give you much information

  • as to how it's pronounced in English.

  • If you listen to a word as you read it,

  • your brain will start making connections

  • and the next time you see that word written down,

  • you'll know exactly how to say it, how it's meant to sound,

  • the pronunciation and the next time you hear that word

  • you'll know exactly how it should be spelled.

  • You're combining two skills

  • but developing all of your skills.

  • It's such an effective method

  • and the best part is you can get one free audiobook,

  • that's a 30 day free trial on Audible.

  • All you've got to do is click on the link

  • in the description box and sign up.

  • Then you can download one of my many recommendations

  • which are also in the description box.

  • Give it a try.

  • It really works.

  • Right, number one is with respect

  • or with all due respect.

  • With all due respect, that's slightly more formal.

  • This is something you can add

  • before you are going to say something that could

  • potentially cause offence.

  • You're showing the listener that you're not trying

  • to be disrespectful.

  • You're saying it in a respectful way.

  • An example, with all due respect,

  • I really don't think it's appropriate

  • to wear a white dress as a wedding guest.

  • Is this a thing in your country and culture?

  • I know not all cultures have white wedding dresses,

  • we do here in the UK

  • and it is extremely frowned upon to wear white

  • to someone's wedding.

  • And I went to a wedding last summer

  • and there was a woman in a long white dress

  • and I was appalled, I tell you.

  • Did I say anything about it to her?

  • No I didn't because I'm British.

  • Did I silently judge her?

  • Of course, I did because I'm British.

  • Number two is I'm going to be very honest with you

  • or I'm gonna be honest with you.

  • If you want to be a bit more informal

  • and speak using slang terms like gonna.

  • This is something you can say again

  • before you say something that could be offensive.

  • You are preparing the listener for the criticism

  • that is going to come next.

  • An example, I'm going to be very honest with you,

  • I wasn't happy with how you behaved in my party.

  • Now, this was said in all English speaking countries,

  • but especially in Britain

  • because we do have a habit of not being honest.

  • The example I gave before

  • of how I didn't tell the woman

  • that she shouldn't have worn white.

  • Well, that's pretty common behaviour.

  • We don't necessarily say things.

  • We like to avoid confrontation,

  • so for us, if we are going to confront someone,

  • it's a big deal and we need to prepare them.

  • I'm going to be honest with you.

  • That brings me onto my next one.

  • Number three, let's be frank.

  • Let's be frank.

  • To be frank is to be honest and direct.

  • If somebody is a frank person

  • then they are very to the point,

  • this means pretty much the same thing,

  • but it kind of opens the opportunity

  • to have an honest conversation.

  • Let's be honest with one another.

  • Let's have an honest conversation.

  • It's not me saying, I'm going to be honest with you,

  • it's saying, let's be frank,

  • let's be honest with each other.

  • An example, let's be frank.

  • You haven't excelled in your exams this year.

  • Number four is a very, very common one

  • and it's actually considered more slang in the UK.

  • It's actually a phrase that I think

  • a lot of people might think is overused

  • or becoming overused.

  • It is, I'm not going to lie

  • or now just shortened down to, not gonna lie, (chuckles)

  • not gonna lie.

  • And you say it before you're about to criticise someone

  • or something, or maybe when you're gonna give

  • a really honest, negative opinion about someone,

  • not gonna lie, your singing wasn't great.

  • Not gonna lie, her top was the ugliest top

  • I've ever seen in my life.

  • My God, that's so, so mean.

  • (laughing)

  • But it's one that is thrown around a lot.

  • It is used a lot and it can be very confusing

  • because you might think, well, of course you shouldn't lie.

  • Why would you lie?

  • It's just a phrase.

  • Now, number five,

  • sometimes you do just want to say, no offence,

  • but we can say it in a much

  • more formal way.

  • We could say, I don't mean to offend,

  • but, or I don't mean to offend you,

  • but, this sounds a little bit nicer.

  • Sometimes you just can't escape using no offence. (chuckles)

  • We can also say, without meaning to offend you

  • or without meaning to offend.

  • An example, without meaning to offend you,

  • your work hasn't been up to scratch recently.

  • Up to scratch means up to the standard.

  • Number six is another slang one.

  • It's very commonly used.

  • It's, don't get me wrong.

  • Don't get me wrong,

  • and we're using get here as in receive.

  • I've got a video all about the many uses of get.

  • There are a lot, I warn you,

  • but we're saying, don't receive me in the wrong way.

  • Don't interpret what I'm saying in the wrong way.

  • It basically means don't misunderstand me.

  • An example, don't get me wrong,

  • but I think we need to have a chat about the incident.

  • You wouldn't really use this in a formal situation.

  • This is more between friends and acquaintances.

  • Number seven is a nice phrase that you can say

  • instead of, I've been watching you

  • and I've seen that you've done something wrong.

  • If you want to of course, express

  • that you have been watching someone

  • and they have been doing something wrong,

  • you can say, I've noticed that.

  • I've noticed that,

  • this is something that's said a lot in offices.

  • I've noticed that you've been spending

  • a lot of time by the water cooler

  • or I've noticed that you aren't always

  • reaching your deadlines.

  • It's a nice way of saying,

  • I've been observing you and you're not doing anything right.

  • Number eight, a way of saying you're doing

  • lots of things wrong

  • and you're really not performing as you should.

  • You could say, there's room for improvement,

  • there's room for improvement.

  • You're doing okay,

  • but there's still a little room for improvement.

  • An example, I appreciate how hard you've worked,

  • but there still is room for improvement here.

  • Now, number nine,

  • is using a conditional to express criticism.

  • It is this lovely phrase, if you can learn it

  • and use it as a set phrase, that's fantastic.

  • If I were you, I would,

  • and then the advice, what you would do.

  • Instead of saying you should do this,

  • which people don't necessarily like.

  • If I were you, I would do it this way.

  • Oh, people love that.

  • An example, if I were you,

  • I would look at implementing a different strategy.

  • Translates roughly as change your strategy. (chuckles)

  • Number 10 what about a nice rhetorical question

  • to set off some criticism?

  • Oh, I love them.

  • If you want to give someone some constructive criticism,

  • you could say, believe it or not,

  • could I offer you a bit of constructive criticism?

  • They can't exactly say no, can they?

  • Especially if you're their boss. (laughing)

  • An example, can I offer you a little constructive criticism?

  • Try using a spellchecker

  • before handing in your assignment. (chuckles)

  • Now, number 11, is something that we actually

  • add to the end of sentences

  • to emphasise them a little bit.

  • In English, especially in British English,

  • we have the habit,

  • a huge habit of reducing everything,

  • trying to make things seem not quite as important

  • or profound as they actually are.

  • For example, if you gave me the most disgusting

  • cup of tea ever, I would say,

  • oh, well, it's not the worst tea I've ever had,

  • or oh yes, I think I could get used to it.

  • It's a real issue, and we often use this technique

  • whilst delivering criticism,

  • but if you decide that you actually do want the receiver

  • of the criticism to realise how badly they've performed,

  • you can add to say the least onto the end.

  • I think you could have done better, to say the least.

  • Or to put it mildly,

  • you don't smell great, to put it mildly.

  • Both of these are used to suggest that something

  • is far worse or more extreme than you are saying.

  • It does make the English language quite complex

  • because we don't actually say what we mean,

  • but don't shoot the messenger.

  • I'm just trying to help out. (laughing)

  • An example, you behaved in appropriately

  • at the staff party, to say the least.

  • And number 12, this one is used in the middle

  • of a criticising sentence,

  • and this one actually is quite different

  • to the previous one.

  • This one is used to make a statement

  • or criticism appear less severe or offensive.

  • It is, shall we say.

  • Shall we say.

  • An example, your report was, shall we say, a little lacking.

  • It's almost like, how do I put this?

  • How can I choose a non-offensive term

  • to describe the monstrosity

  • with which I have been presented?

  • Your report was, shall we say, a little lacking,

  • or your reaction was, shall we say, a little over the top,

  • meaning your reaction was completely

  • and utterly over the top right. (laughing)

  • Right, that's it for today's lesson,

  • how to say offensive things

  • and give criticism without causing offence

  • in a polite, or at least British manner.

  • Don't forget to check out Audible.

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