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Use “不了” to decline an offer

What can you say to reject someone when he offers help or wants to invite you to join him? The phrase "不了" just hits the spot and allows you to decline an offer politely. 


不了 (bù le)  = No thanks (I don't want to do something)

It's best used between friends or someone you can speak informally with rather than shop owners or your boss. Here are the two situations it used:


1. A friend on her balcony waving to a friend walking past: 


A: Nǐ yào bú yào shàng lái hē chá? 


Do you want to come up and have some tea?

B: Bù le. Wǒ huí qù le. 

不了. 我回去了.

No thanks. I'm going home.

In this situation "bù le" is short for "bú yòng le" (不用了) meaning "that's not necessary." 


2. Two friends (A and B) chatting at a sidewalk cafe. A third friend (C) walks past.


A: Nǐ hǎo! Gēn wǒmen yìqǐ chīfàn ba. 


Hi! Eat with us.

C: Bù le. Wǒ yǐjīng chī le. 

不了. 我已经吃了.

No thanks. I already ate.

Notice in both situations they are friends. Also notice that "bù le" 不了 is immediately followed by a jièkǒu 借口 (excuse or explanation) of some sort. 


The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer. 



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