Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

A lot of English phrases are direct and can be interpreted as dismissive.

In today’s episode, you will learn phrases in English that should not be used.

This is because you may sound negative and rude.

Learn what these phrases are and what to use instead.

This way, the person you’re talking to won’t feel pushed aside.

Rude comments ruin connection

During a meeting or presentation, you may have heard:

“As I told you, we will get to that later.”

This phrase, “As I told you” sounds very rude.

It is vital to know when you are being rude.

This phrase sounds very dismissive.

Whoever this is directed at will feel pushed away.

If this happens, you break the connection.

When someone feels shut down, it will make them hesitant to approach you next time.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn what phrases are dismissive and what you can use instead.

This way, you continue to build good relationships in English.

Consider the words you use

Today’s episode was inspired by a listener who sent a question.

“Is it rude to say to someone: ‘as I told you’? For example, I was explaining to someone and she or he asks me about something I just mentioned and I say “As I told you, this is…” Does that phrase sound rude? If it is rude, can you share different ways how to answer?


It is important to contemplate the words you use.

You don’t want to be dismissive when you are in a conversation.

Being rude can break the connection between you and a colleague or friend.

Today we share four phrases that can sound rude or dismissive.

You’ll also learn alternatives you can use that are appropriate and polite.

#1: As I told you

This phrase can be rude, blunt, and very dismissive.

It is often used to tell someone to listen more intently.

In addition, it implies that the speaker is frustrated because they have to repeat themselves.

You have to be careful when using this phrase because it sounds so critical.

The person you are speaking to may feel stupid or dismissed.

What you can say instead of this is:

“As previously mentioned…”

This means the same thing but is not as direct.

It sounds much more respectful.

This is in the passive voice, whereas ‘as I told you’ is not.

The passive voice is much less direct.


Aubrey: Sorry to interrupt your presentation, but I have another question.

Lindsay: As previously mentioned, we will take questions at the end after the presentation.

#2: That’s nonsense

This is similar to ‘that doesn’t make any sense.’

It can be interpreted as very rude and blunt as well.

Saying this is dismissing the opinion of the person you’re speaking to.

It also shows that you strongly disagree and you feel justified in dismissing their opinion.

Here are good alternatives:

“I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. Have you considered…”

“Interesting. I have to disagree. Have you considered…”

It is vital to remain respectful and, if possible, acknowledge that you understand their side.

Alternatively, if you disagree vehemently, you can still acknowledge their point of view.

We must realize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether or not we agree.

When you disagree passionately with someone or you can’t find common ground, you can say, “Let’s agree to disagree.”


Lindsay: So to summarize, I think the Earth is flat

Aubrey: Interesting. I disagree. Have you considered how from a distance the tops of tall objects like mountains are visible well before their base? This seems to be evidence of Earth’s curvature.

#3: That’s stupid

This is a very unkind response.

It is outright disrespectful and insulting.

Despite strongly disagreeing, don’t resort to being dismissive.

The alternative to this is: “I’m not sure that’s accurate. Have you considered…”


Aubrey: So to complete this math equation, 36 x 6 is 360.

Lindsay: I’m not sure that’s accurate. Let’s check it on a calculator.

#4: That’s silly

This is often said to someone who is making a decision.

Parents often use this when talking to their children.

When you say this phrase, you are implying a person is childish, foolish, or frivolous.

  • Frivolous: not taking things seriously

There is a much more respectful way to say someone is making a bad decision.

You can instead say, “I don’t know if that’s wise. Have you considered the possible outcomes?”


Aubrey: My friends are saying I should invest in Bitcoin.

Lindsay: Oh. I don’t think that’s wise. I think it’s on a 3 month low. Maybe consider waiting a bit to see what happens.


There are many phrases that can be interpreted as rude, blunt, and dismissive.

Don’t break your connection with friends or colleagues by using these phrases.

If you choose the wrong words, they may feel hurt or offended.

The interaction will be weird and awkward because you made them feel stupid, silly, or shut down.

Use today’s alternative phrases to ensure you are not offending anyone or ruining any relationships.

Communication is a powerful tool.

Using inappropriate language can easily turn a connection into a wall between you and your colleagues, friends, or family.

Have you felt dismissed by certain phrases?

Share your experience in the comments below.

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