Learn all the different ways to say ‘no’ in English. The word “NO!” by itself is a very simple way to refuse something. However, native speakers of English say “no” in many different ways which you might not know yet.

It’s important for you to learn all the ways in which we can say “no” in order to prevent misunderstandings. You should also learn to use these because in some situations, you need to use stronger language.

I will teach you 25 ways to refuse in a strong and direct way. Depending on where you come from, this may not be usual in your home country or culture. But in English-speaking countries, being direct is very often the most appropriate behavior.

You will learn expressions such as “No way, Jose”, “under no circumstance”, “out of the question”, “no chance”, “fat chance”, “not gonna happen”, and many more. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to say the simple and common word “no” with more variety than ever before.

Expressions for Saying ‘No!’ in English

If someone asks you on a date, and you’re not interested, you can say…

  • Not in a million years.
  • How many times do I have to tell you?!
  • What part of ‘no!’ don’t you understand?
  • Leave me alone!
  • Go away!

If someone asks to borrow money from you, but you want to strongly decline, you can say…

  • Are you serious / joking ?
  • Not on your Nelly!
  • Not on your life!

If someone is trying to scam you by getting your personal details, you can say…

  • under no circumstances *formal
  • on no account *formal
  • Sure, I’ll give you my password. When pigs might fly! *idiomatic
  • You’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell. *idiomatic
  • Do you think I was born yesterday? *idiomatic

If you want to say ‘no’ to your child who is asking to do something that is not allowed, you can say…

  • No way José! *idiomatic
  • Uh-uh. Don’t even go there! *slang / colloquial
  • Fat chance. *idiomatic
  • Absolutely not.

Extend Your Learning

◼️ Learn more advanced idioms and expressions: ‘Ways to Use ‘So’ in English.

◼️ Watch my ‘How to expand your English vocabulary‘ lesson.

◼️ Do the ways of saying ‘no’ lesson quiz.


Jade Joddle grows your confidence and skill to shine when speaking English.

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