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In various situations I'd like to be able to refuse politely. What are some ways I can do so? In particular, I'd like to see a variety of phrases with different levels of formality.

For example, in these situations:

  • Someone offers coffee, but I don't want it.
  • Someone (strongly) pushes me to drink soju, but I intend not to drink.
  • Someone suggests going to a mountain to hike on the weekend.
  • Someone offers help (for example, filling out an application form at a government office) - but I don't need help.
  • I'm asked to work extra on the weekend, but I don't intend to.

I know how I would refuse in each of these situations; but I'd like to know the most natural ways, both polite and super-polite.

  • "polite and super-polite." I hope someone also posts the rude and snarky ways as well. – user17915 Jul 28 '16 at 13:20
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It's not an easy question to answer definitively because it's a matter of preference and depends on context, but let me try.

Someone offers coffee, but I don't want it.

아니요. 괜찮아요. 고맙습니다. It literally translates to "No, I am fine. Thank you". You can use it when you are offered something and you want to politely say "No."

Someone (strongly) pushes me to drink soju, but I intend not to drink.

미안해요. 술 잘 못 마셔요. I am sorry, but I don't drink well.

Someone suggests going to a mountain to hike on the weekend.

미안해요. 다른 약속이 있어요. I am sorry, but I have a prior engagement.

Someone offers help (for example, filling out an application form at a government office) - but I don't need help.

아니요. 괜찮아요. 고맙습니다.

I'm asked to work extra on the weekend, but I don't intend to.

미안해요. 다른 약속이 있어요.

You could use "죄송해요." or "죄송합니다." in place of "미안해요." and "감사합니다." in place of "고맙습니다." if you want to sound more polite.

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