How to Delay Answering in English
All of the below phrases finish with high intonation to show that you are going to continue speaking with your answer or contribution in just a second.
- Well, you see…
- Now, let me see.
These phrases are very common expressions that English people use all the time. Yoou should not pause for more than a second or two after saying them
- Just a moment / Just a second
- Hang on a moment / second / mo / sec
These phrases are actually asking the listener to wait. In “Hang on a moment/ second”, we often shorten ‘moment’ to ‘mo’ and ‘second’ to ‘sec’ in informal speech.
- How shall I put it?
This expression suggests that the speaker knows what to say but wants to organise the words to make them less unpleasant or annoying to the listener.
- What’s the word for it..
We say “What’s the word for it ..” when we are trying to remember one particular word. If we still can’t remember after another two seconds we often explain what the word means and hope that the listener can tell us what the word is.
- Now, let me think…
- Let me get this right…
These phrases are used for requesting the listener to wait for one or two seconds. You can only wait a few seconds after saying these.
- It’s on the tip of my tongue..
“It’s on the tip of my tongue..” means that we really think we know the word that we are searching our memory for but can’t remember it at this moment.
- (Now) that’s an interesting question…
This expression often used by politicians when they are asked a difficult or embarrassing question. Very often, they change the subject and avoid answering altogether.