75 Ways to Politely Interrupt a Conversation

Could you use 75 ways to politely interrupt a conversation as you learn to become an awesome American English speaker? Even while we’re learning new ways to comfortably speak English like a native, it’s important to never forget to use our manners! To become a successful American English speaker, it is essential to always address others politely and to be sure to measure words and interjections carefully.

When Can I Interrupt?

A good rule of thumb when you’re not 100% confident is to observe others around you and listen to the words, phrases, or sounds they are using to interrupt a conversation.

Good places to interrupt a conversation are:

  • When the speaker is pausing to breathe
  • When the speaker is finishing a phrase or sentence
  • When you have a good point to make that would contribute positively to the discussion (be sure to measure your timing carefully, so as to not appear rude!)

It is also important to be prepared! Don’t interrupt if you have nothing to say. Give your interruption a purpose and form your comment in your mind before interrupting. You will feel very satisfied as an English speaker when you can successfully interrupt a conversation and make your own contribution, thus appreciating the natural ebb and flow of American English.

75 Ways to Politely Interrupt a Conversation

Here is a comprehensive list of ways to interrupt a conversation that will allow you to interject and make your point while still being polite to the other members of the conversation.

These cover a range of functions, such as: attention getters (#1-12), phrases that add information (#13-18), phrases that clearly announce that you want to interrupt (#19-30), phrases that allow you to jump in or join a conversation (#31-36), phrases that are particularly useful in meetings or class situations (#37-40), phrases that ask for clarification (#41-47), phrases that ask for time (#48-56), interjections to share your opinion (#57-63 and #67-72), interruptions that allow you to bring other people into the conversation (#64-66, this is a great way to encourage others who are being quiet or are not as confident to participate in a conversation), and suggestions that can be used to interrupt (#73-75). 

Attention Getters

These are a category of words that don’t have any meaning but that we often use to get people’s attention.

1.Clearing your throat

2. Uhm…

3. Hmm…

4. Ah…

5. Oh…

6. Well…

7. So…

8. Hey… (Note that this one is a bit casual, so only use it with people you are good friends with.)

9. Using the other person’s name (eg. “James, that’s a great idea!”)

10. Guys… (Can be used in a group of men or women, or a mix of both!)

11. Ladies and Gentlemen… (This would be the formal version of “Guys,” should be used in formal situations or when you’re trying to be funny in a casual situation.)

12. Everyone… (eg. “Everyone, I think that’s a great idea!)

Add Information

Would you like to contribute extra information to someone else’s thought or argument? Try these!

13. I need to add something here…

14. Can I just say something here? (When using this phrase, you do not need to wait for others to respond to your question, and you may continue with the comment you’d like to make.)

15. May I add…

16. I’d like to add…

17. Let me add something…

18. That reminds me… (For this one, you’d want to tell a connected or related story or piece of information. For example, “That reminds me, we need to prepare the report for next week.”)

Need to Interrupt?

Can’t wait any longer? Are other speakers not allowing others to speak? Use these phrases!

19. Let me interrupt a second…

20. I’m sorry to interrupt, but…

21. I don’t mean to interrupt, but… (Although you technically DO mean to interrupt, this is simply a polite way of interrupting that works best when you have a point to make quickly before the conversation changes, or when other members of the conversation are deep in a discussion but you’d still like your point to be heard.)

22. Sorry for interrupting, but…

23. Can I stop you there for a moment?

24. Can I just butt in for a second? (Yes, it is spelled like a word used to reference a person’s back end, but in this instance it literally means ‘to interrupt’!)

25. Can I just mention something?

26. Excuse me for interrupting, but…

27. Excuse me, I’d like to say something.

28. Excuse me for butting in, but…

29. Just a moment, I’d like to…

Jump In!

Assert yourself! Don’t be afraid to jump into the conversation.

30. Let me jump in…

31. Do you mind if I jump in here?

32. Can I jump in here?

33. Do you mind if I come in here?

34. I don’t mean to intrude, but… (Similarly to #19, this one works best when you are trying to contribute to a conversation you’re not already a part of, like when you overhear something and you want to join their conversation.)

35. I don’t mean to be rude, but…

36. May I interject?

Professional Setting

Need a less casual way of interrupting? Try using these.

37. Before we move on to the next point, may I add…?

38. Before you move on, I’d like to say something.

39. Before you go on, I’d like to say something.

40. Pardon me (This leans more toward the formal ways to interrupt, but it can also be used as a nice way to say “Excuse me” in both conversational situations or even when you’re on the street and need someone to move out of your way.)

Ask for Clarification

Are you still unsure or not clear enough on someone else’s point? Take a look at these examples. They are excellent phrases to try in a class setting!

41. Could you clarify that?

42. Sorry, could you explain that a little more?

43. Do you mean that…? (When using this phrase, you will need to continue by summarizing what the person has already said to make sure your understanding is correct. For example, “Do you mean that you think that’s a great a idea?”)

44. Would you tell us/me a little bit more about that?

45. Could you clarify that last point before we move on?

46. Would you mind explaining that a little more?

47. Could you explain that more fully?

Ask for Time

American English speakers are known for being fast speakers. If you’re having a hard time keeping up or gathering your thoughts, you should feel free to ask the other speakers for more time. You want to be polite, but you also want to have enough time to formulate a cohesive argument!

48. Hold on…

49. Just a minute…

50. Wait, what about…

51. Can we just pause a second?

52. Let’s see…

53. One quick thing…

54. Just one thing…

55. Just let me say…

56. Listen…

Share Your Opinion

Be confident in your opinion! If you feel strongly one way or another, don’t be shy and share with your conversation partners. 

57. I think…

58. I agree…

59. I disagree…

60. I don’t agree.

61. I’m not sure about that.

62. That’s great!

63. That’s interesting! (Be mindful that your tone matches your intention with this one. The way you intonate can be seen as a genuine feeling of appreciation, or instead as a sarcastic comment that means that opposite!)

Bring Others In

Do other members of the conversation seem shy or too quiet, or are others not letting them get a word in edgewise? Use these phrases to politely turn the conversation, so that everyone gets their say!

64. What’s your opinion, James? (Don’t forget to replace James with the actual name of the person you are speaking to!)

65. What do you think, James?

66. James, do you agree? 

Other Ways to Share Your Opinion

Do you still need to assert your opinion further? Try these!

67. As far as I’m concerned…

68. Personally, I believe…

69. The way I see it…

70. That’s right.

71. That’s correct.

72. Actually…

Make a Suggestion

Offering suggestions is a polite way to wrap up a conversation or a point of thought, or allow for other points to be explored. Use these if you need to add some creativity or action plans to the conversation!

73. It would be interesting to…

74. Why don’t we…

75. How about…

What Happens After 75?

The more vocabulary you learn, the more ways you will learn to form phrases to interrupt that suit your own style. We highly recommend that you practice using these ways to interrupt so that you gain confidence in your conversation and interruption skills! Of course, you don’t NEED to say any of these words or phrases! You can simply say what you want to say. Just speak up and jump into a conversation.

These 75 words and phrases can really help you to jump in and to manage tricky conversations with people who speak too fast or too loud, or who rarely give others the time to contribute to a conversation. Sometimes, you just need to jump in and take it for yourself. So, be brave, be fearless, and learn to use some (if not all!) of these awesome 75 words and phrases to interrupt in any American English conversation. You deserve to join in on the conversation, and other people want you to. So, don’t be shy, jump in today!

And remember, being polite is FREE! 🙂

Click on the video below to check out Gabby’s tips!

For more videos: Go Natural English YT

Expressing a Future Action: When To Use “Will” And “Going To”

Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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