11 Easy Ways to Interrupt Someone Politely in English
Recently, I received a question about how to interrupt someone politely in English. Here was the exact problem: “How to interrupt politely? Because I was on call with Americans yesterday. I wanted to say that I was only able to stay for 40 minutes on this call. I didn’t know how to interrupt in a polite way. Any ideas?”
Yes! I definitely have some ideas and I’m so glad I received this question because interrupting someone is certainly a delicate matter.
Generally speaking, it’s rude to interrupt someone, right?
But this question is a perfect example of when it’s necessary to interrupt: you’re on a phone call or in a meeting and you need to share an important message, like the need to leave early.
There are three common reasons why it may be necessary to interrupt someone. You need or want to:
- Share an important message
- Ask a question or clarify something
- Join a conversation or express your opinion on the topic
The key is knowing how to interrupt someone politely. To help you do that, I want to share essential tips and common phrases we use in English.
Essential tips and common sentences for interrupting.
Lesson by Annemarie
11 Ways to Interrupt Someone Politely in English
When you need to deliver a message:
- I hate to interrupt but I wanted to let you know I have to leave the meeting early.
- I’m so sorry to interrupt but…
- I don’t mean to be rude but may I interrupt quickly?
When you need to end a conversation
- I’m terribly sorry to interrupt you but I have to be at work for a meeting shortly and must *get going*. It was wonderful to see you. Have a nice day. (Note: In this context, to get going means to depart or leave.)
- Oh! Sorry to interrupt but I just noticed the time and I need to get to work. I’m very sorry. But it was great chatting with you.
When you need to ask a question or would like to clarify something:
- Sorry to interrupt but may I ask a quick question?
- I’m so sorry for interrupting but I’d like to make sure I understood you correctly.
- I don’t mean to be rude but I’d like to ask a question.
When you want to join a conversation or express your opinion:
- So sorry to interrupt but before we *move on*, I’d like to add my thoughts on this topic. (Note: to move on means to start doing or discussing something new.)
- Excuse me but may I jump in here?
- May I add something quickly?
Today my challenge question for you is a bit different than normal. In fact, it’s really more of a quiz.
This lesson is focused on what to say when you need to interrupt a conversation. But what should you say if someone interrupts you? How do you continue the conversation after the interruption?
Here are two specific questions:
- What can you say to someone to indicate that it is okay for them to interrupt?
- What can you say after the interruption to continue your comments?
Share your ideas and examples in the comments section below. I’ll be sure to add some feedback and examples of my own.
Have a great week!
Get the Confidence to Say What You Want in English
Download my free training on how to build the courage and confidence you need to say what you want in English.
You'll also get my Confident English lessons delivered by email every Wednesday and occasional information about available courses. You can unsubscribe any time.
Learn with me
Most Recent Lessons
Do you listen to native speakers and think: I wish I could speak faster, sound more fluent, and sound natural… just like a native speaker. Today I’m going to share one easy tip to help you do that.
Do you search for the right words when you explain what you think in English? Wish you had more vocabulary to do that easily in English? Good news. English collocations about what you think can help you do that!
Do you want to be interesting in English conversations? The good news is, it’s easier than you think & the secret to it might surprise you. I’ll show you how in 6 easy steps.