Business English Lesson 3 > Interrupting Politely / Resisting Interruption


Imagine that you are in a business meeting and everybody is speaking really quickly. It is difficult to keep up with what is being said. You need to stop the conversation to ask for clarification but you don’t know how to do it. Where do you start?  Similarly,  imagine a situation where a co-worker says something that you completely disagree with, maybe it is even completely untrue, how do you interrupt them to set the record straight?

In the workplace it is also common for others to interrupt us when we are speaking. Some co-workers may have a habit of cutting across you as you speak or more dominant personalities may try to talk over you during meetings. This can be very stressful and annoying. It is important in these situations that we can assert ourselves in a calm and measured fashion.

Today’s blog post looks at some of the vocabulary you can use to interrupt others, and also prevent others from interrupting you. Memorize the phrases that are most relevant to you and start asserting yourself in the workplace!


>> Interrupting Politely

Sorry, can I just come in here?

Sorry, can I ask a question?

Excuse me for interrupting, but can I just add a few words on to what Noel said.

Sorry to butt in, Mary.  It’s just that I don’t feel that’s actually what happened…

Sorry Peter, but could I just interrupt you there?

Sorry guys, but can I just say something on that as it’s not exactly how I remember it…

Sorry to interrupt, but hasn’t this been agreed already?


>> Resisting Interruption 

Sorry, could you hold on a sec, let me just finish what I was saying…

Thanks Peter, but I’ll come to that in a moment. So, as I just mentioned …

Excuse me Max, but I haven’t finished what I was saying. So, as I said, …

May I just finish this point? I’ll return to that issue at the end.

Just a moment please; I won’t be long. I´ll deal with your questions at the end


Useful Vocabulary 

  1. set the record straight > to put right a mistake or misunderstanding

My boss is angry because I didn’t go to work yesterday. He thinks I am lazy. But my daughter was really sick. I need to call him and set the record straight


2. speak / talk over someone >  to continue to talk even when while another person is talking 

> Jason is so rude. He is always talking over me at work. It is so annoying!

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