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Sentence Patterns using "Excuse me..."

Excuse me is used to apologize, to politely interrupt, or to politely get someone's attention.

We usually use "Excuse me, but..." when we want to politely interrupt somebody and say something.
  • Excuse me, but can I say something?
We also use it when we want to get somebody's attention and tell them something.
  • Excuse me, but your shoe is untied.
Or it can be used to politely get somebody's attention and ask them for a favor, help, or request.
  • Excuse me, but could you please hand me my bag?
Excuse me, but + sentence
  • Excuse me, but I have to say something.
  • Excuse me, but I think you took my coat by mistake.
  • Excuse me, but I was here first.
  • Excuse me, but there is a line. You can't cut in front.
  • Excuse me, but I was wondering if I could go first because I am in a hurry.
Excuse me, but + question?
  • Excuse me, but can I get by?
  • Excuse me, but could you hand me that pen?
  • Excuse me, but do I know you from somewhere?
  • Excuse me, but could you open the door for me?
  • Excuse me, but may I say something?
  • Excuse me, but where are you from?
  • Excuse me, but can you speak English?
We can make polite requests with either a question or a sentence.
  • Excuse me, but please help me with this.
  • Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could help me with this.
  • Excuse me, but could you help me with this?
  • Excuse me, but can you help me with this?
  • Excuse me, but would you help me with this, please?
Bonus Tips and Points

1. We can express the same thing without the word "but". We just make two sentences.
  • Excuse me. You dropped this.
  • Excuse me. Can I get by?
  • Excuse me. Is this yours?
  • Excuse me. Can I say something?
  • Excuse me. Is your name Jake?
  • Excuse me. Where are you from?
Real-World English Conversations

A) Excuse me, but could I go first because I am in a rush?
B) I am sorry, but I am also in a rush.
A) No problem. This line is so long, right?
B) Yeah. I have never seen this store this busy.

A) Excuse me sir, but may I say something?
B) Sure, Kathy. Go ahead.

A) Excuse me, but is this your wallet?
B) Yes, it is! Where did you get it?
A) It fell out of your pocket back there. I saw it happen.
B) Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver.

A) Excuse me, but do you work here?
B) Yes, can I help you?
A) I was wondering if you had this shirt in red.
B) Let me check in the back.
A) Thanks a million.

A) Excuse me. Could I take a look at the book you have?
B) Sure. Are you interested in it?
A) Yes, I am. I think the author is my old high school classmate.

A) Excuse me sir, but you can't smoke here.
B) Why not?
A) Because it is the law. You need to go outside to smoke.

A) What the hell!
B) Excuse me sir, but you need to watch your language. There are children here.

Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!

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