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Useful Expressions > Intermediate

Asking people to wait

Sometimes when you are very busy and somebody asks you do do something, you need to ask them to wait. Here are ten phrases for asking people to wait.

Ten Expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing

  1. Hang on a moment / a mo.
  2. Give us a second.
  3. Half a moment / a mo.
  4. I'll be right with you.
  5. Sorry, I'm a bit tied up right now.
  6. Wait and see.
  7. You'll just have to be patient.
  8. Give me a chance.
  9. Don't be so impatient.
  10. We wish to apologise for the delay to...

How To Use These Phrases In Your English

  1. Phrases 1, 2, and 3 are quite informal but polite in tone. You are busy and expect to be able to help them quite soon.
  2. Phrase 4 is especially useful in customer service situations where you want to ask a customer to wait for a few minutes.
  3. Phrase 5 is really saying how busy you are but at the same time you are asking people to wait. It is quite polite.
  4. Phrase 6 is refusing to tell somebody something about the near future. We often use it when we are preparing a surprise for somebody.
  5. Phrases 7 and 8 are less polite and are suggesting that you think the other person is being too impatient.
  6. Phrase 9 is more impolite and you are actually directly criticising the other person for being impatient.
  7. Phrase 10 is a formal announcement that you might hear on a train or plane in the UK. It is followed by a noun phrase.