50 Polite Ways to Interrupt Someone in English

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Have you ever found it challenging to interrupt someone to express your opinion, make suggestions, or ask for further information? For ESL learners, interrupting someone while someone is talking can be difficult since the other person may not accept it happily if you are not polite and reasonable in your word choice.

If you are wondering how to do it right, I’m here to help you with some English expressions that you can use in different situations with different purposes to interrupt.    

By saying, “Excuse me…” or “I’m sorry to interrupt, but…” you can politely interrupt someone in English. However, you must always respect the other person’s thoughts and feelings.

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Table of Contents

Why Do You Need to Interrupt Someone in a Conversation

There are so many reasons why sometimes interrupting someone in a conversation becomes necessary. Here is a list of reasons.

  • To ask for further information
  • To ask for clarification
  • To end a conversation
  • To ask for a break
  • To make suggestions
  • To express interest
  • To give an opinion
  • To join a conversation
  • To stop someone when they are off-topic
  • To prevent someone when they talk for so long

Considering the above reasons, I’ll share some appropriate English phrases that can help you interrupt someone.

How to Interrupt Someone to Ask for Further Information

It’s common to ask for more information when someone talks about something. There are so many ways to ask for further information from someone politely. However, I’ll share the most common 5 English expressions to interrupt someone in a conversation when you think you need additional information.

  • Excuse me, can you give me some more information about this idea?
  • I’m sorry to interrupt, but may I ask for further information on this issue?
  • I’m not sure, but is that okay if I ask you to provide detailed information?
  • Thanks, but may I ask for more details about this before we move to the next?
  • I understand what you said, but please elaborate more on that.

How to Interrupt Someone to Ask for Clarification

When we talk to someone, sometimes we may not quite catch what they say. This may happen for various reasons. However, when you are not clear about what someone has said, you may need to ask for further clarification. So, here are some English expressions that you can use to interrupt someone when you need clarification.

  • I’m unsure if I understood it. Can you put it differently for me?
  • I think I’m a bit confused. Would you mind clarifying it?
  • I’m sorry to stop you, but may I ask for clarification?
  • I’m not sure if I exactly caught what you said. Could you please clarify?
  • Excuse me, could you clarify that point for me?

If you need clarification on something someone just said, being polite while asking for it is crucial. Apart from these five expressions, you can also learn some more phrases and tips on how to ask for clarification politely.

How to Interrupt Someone to End a Conversation

On many occasions, we may interrupt someone to end a conversation. This may happen because we have other engagements or appointments or don’t want to continue the conversation as we don’t like the topic.

However, no matter the reason, you must be polite to ask someone to end a conversation. For many ESl speakers, it’s challenging to interrupt someone to finish a dialogue since the other person may find it rude. So here I share some polite English expressions you may confidently use to interrupt someone.

  • Excuse me. I’ve got a meeting to attend. May I go, please? 
  • I’m sorry, but I must wrap up this conversation because I have an appointment with the doctor.
  • I am sorry to interrupt; I must go now. I hope to talk about this later.
  • I wish to continue this conversation, but I have another commitment.
  • I liked talking to you but can’t continue because my friend is waiting.

How to Interrupt Someone to Ask for a Break

When we are in a conversation for a long time, or you need to attend an urgent phone call, you may ask the other person to spare some time or a break. So, how do you do it? You must be polite in your word choice and body language. Here are some appropriate expressions to interrupt someone to ask for a break during a conversation.

  • Would you mind giving me a short break? I have an urgent call to receive.
  • Excuse me, Can I have a few minutes of break?
  • I’m sorry to interrupt, but can we continue the conversation in five minutes?
  • Is that okay if I step away for a few minutes?
  • May we continue the conversation after a coffee break?

How to Interrupt Someone to Make Suggestions

People usually like to listen to suggestions. However, some people may not want to be interrupted even if you offer good suggestions to them. So, the way you interrupt should be polite. Before you make any suggestions, make sure you appreciate them for their ideas. Let me share some English expressions to interrupt someone to make suggestions.

  • Sorry to interfere, but can I suggest something here?
  • Excuse me. I got an idea. May I share?
  • I don’t mean to interrupt, but I would like to suggest something.
  • I think I have another good idea. Would you allow me to share it?
  • May I suggest a possible solution?

Well! While interrupting someone to give suggestions, your tone must be like you are actually asking for permission to share what you have in your mind.

How to Interrupt Someone to Express Your Interest

When you listen to someone, and it seems that you are really interested in what the other person is saying, it creates a good impression of you. As a result, the conversation goes smoothly

There are so many ways you can express your interest in something. However, while you need to interrupt someone else to express your interest, be a little careful so you don’t hamper their natural flow of speaking. Here are some useful expressions that you can use to interrupt someone to express your interest in something.

  • I’m really interested in what you are talking about. Can you tell me more?
  • I don’t mean to interrupt, but I must tell you it’s interesting.
  • I find it fascinating. Please carry on saying.
  • I hate to interrupt, but I’m curious to know what happened next.
  • This is amazing. By the way, sorry to interrupt.

How to Interrupt Someone to Give Your Opinion

In a conversation, you may have some input or opinions to share while the other person is speaking. In that case, you must request them to allow you to share your opinion or ask permission to express your thoughts.

However, if you interrupt someone while they speak, they may find it rude or embarrassing. Therefore, you must know the appropriate English phrases to interrupt someone to express your opinions. Here are some English expressions for you.

  • Excuse me, but I have a different view on that.
  • Would you please allow me to share my opinion?
  • I’m sorry to interrupt; I would like to express my opinion.
  • Would you mind if I took a minute to share my perspective about it?
  • Can I share my opinion on that?

How to Interrupt Someone to Join a Conversation

When you feel like joining a conversation, you can interrupt the other person to seek permission to join a conversation. However, you must consider whether you fit into the context. You must not hamper the natural flow of the conversation by interrupting. You should wait for the right time and join the conversation. Remember that your words matter when you interrupt. Let’s learn some phrases of such kind.

  • Sorry to interfere, but I really want to join the conversation.
  • Would it be okay if I joined you in the discussion?
  • Excuse me, may I participate in the conversation?
  • I don’t mean to interrupt, but I find the discussion topic interesting. May I join?
  • Will you please allow me to take part in the conversation?

How to Interrupt When Someone Is Off-topic

If you notice someone is off-topic during a conversation, you may want to interrupt them to take them back to the topic. You may politely and indirectly remind them that they are off-topic. However, you must acknowledge their contribution to the conversation until now. Now let’s learn some appropriate English phrases to interrupt or remind someone when they are off-topic.

  • I don’t mean to interrupt, but are we really still on the topic?
  • Excuse me, may we get back on track?
  • Pardon me. Let’s focus on the listed topics.
  • Can we stick to the point, please?
  • Would you consider being on the topic?

How to Interrupt When Someone Talks for So Long

You will often find people who do most of the talking in a conversation. However, you may need to express yourself too. Also, there are some occasions when you find someone talking for so long that you feel like stopping them. In both cases, you should interrupt the other person using polite English expressions. Here are some such phrases.

  • I beg your pardon, but could you give me a chance to speak?
  • Excuse me, but we have limited time.
  • I don’t mean to interrupt, but can we keep the conversation brief?
  • Can you please add something quickly before we move to someone else?
  • I’m sorry to interrupt, but please cut your speech short.

Sample Conversation: Polite Ways to Interrupt Someone in English

Situation: At a team meeting, Lisa has been speaking for a while. John needs to interject with some vital information.

Lisa: As I was saying, the third-quarter reports indicate a significant rise in our sales, which can be attributed to our new marketing strategies. We’ve managed to capture a larger market share, and the feedback from our clients has been overwhelmingly positive.

John: Excuse me, Lisa, I hate to interrupt, but I think it’s crucial to mention that the figures from the last week of the quarter haven’t been included yet.

Lisa: Oh, I wasn’t aware of that. Thank you for pointing it out, John.

John: Sorry to butt in, but I thought it was vital for everyone to have the complete picture. Please continue.

Lisa: Not a problem, John. It’s essential to have accurate data. I’ll ensure the final figures are incorporated before our next discussion.

In Conclusion

Whenever you interrupt someone, you must start with words of apology such as “sorry,” “Excuse me,” “Pardon me,” etc. Your choice of words, tone, and body language are the keys to a good conversation.

I have shared 50 different expressions that you can use to interrupt someone in a conversation for ten different purposes. Learn them and use them in real-life contexts.

Thank you.

1. Is it always necessary to apologize when interrupting someone?

While it’s not always necessary, it’s polite to acknowledge the interruption, especially in formal settings.

2. What are some common phrases to interrupt politely?

Phrases like “Excuse me,” “Pardon me,” “May I add something?”, and “Sorry for the interruption” are commonly used.

3. Is it rude to interrupt someone?

It depends on the context. If it’s essential, a polite interruption is acceptable. However, repeatedly interrupting someone can be considered rude.

4. How can I signal that I want to say something without verbally interrupting?

Raising a hand or making eye contact with the speaker can signal that you have something to add.

5. What if someone keeps interrupting me?

You can politely acknowledge their point and then steer the conversation back to your original topic.

6. How can I re-enter a conversation after being interrupted?

You can use phrases like “As I was saying” or “To continue my point.”

7. Is it okay to interrupt during presentations?

It’s best to save questions or comments for designated Q&A sessions or the end of the presentation unless the presenter encourages interruptions.

8. How can I prevent being interrupted?

Maintaining steady eye contact and using open body language can deter interruptions.

9. Is it different to interrupt in a group setting versus one-on-one?

In group settings, it’s essential to be more cautious and ensure everyone has a chance to speak.

10. Are there cultural considerations when interrupting?

Yes, the acceptability of interruptions can vary across cultures. It’s essential to be aware of cultural norms and etiquette.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 8 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

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