“Excuse me”: 6 different times to say it

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When should we say “excuse me” in English? Here are 6 different situations when you should say this common phrase in English!

#1 – To get someone’s attention

One is when you want to get someone’s attention – for example,

  • Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
  • Excuse me, do you know what time it is?”

#2 – To move past someone

Another situation is when you want someone to move so you can get past them – if you’re on a bus and you need to get to the door but people are blocking the way, you can say “Excuse me” to politely ask them to move aside and let you through.

"Excuse me": 6 different times to say it Espresso English

Say “excuse me” when you need to get through a crowd

#3 – When you need to leave

Excuse me is also used as a polite and slightly formal way to tell someone you need to leave.

If you’re in a group meeting at work but you get an important call on your cell phone, you might say “Excuse me a moment – I need to take this call” as you step out of the room.

#4 – To apologize for bodily noises

A fourth situation is after you let out a bodily noise like a burp, cough, or fart – say “excuse me” as a bit of an apology to those who hear it.

"Excuse me": 6 different times to say it Espresso English

Say excuse me after making a bodily noise

#5 – When you didn’t hear someone

A fifth time to say “excuse me” is if you didn’t quite hear someone, and you need them to repeat it:

  • “Did you call the client yet?”
  • “Excuse me?”
  • “I asked if you’ve called the client yet.”

#6 – To disagree (politely or rudely)

And a sixth way is to disagree with someone.

You can say it politely, for example, “Excuse me, but I don’t think that data is accurate.”

Or you can say it rudely/sarcastically, in response to someone accusing or criticizing you – like if a friend complains about you being a bit late to a meet-up and you say “Well, excuse me! It was only like 10 minutes.”

"Excuse me": 6 different times to say it Espresso English

Now you know a bunch of different ways to use “excuse me” in English!

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Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got more English lessons to prepare. Bye!

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"Excuse me": 6 different times to say it Espresso English

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