People have plenty of reasons for interrupting a conversation, whether it’s to relay an opinion, quickly ask an unrelated question, join in on the discussion, or to just simply tell someone something. However, interrupting a conversation doesn’t have to be an awkward or rude experience! Below are some phrases and expressions you can use to interject your thoughts into a conversation if the need arises.
Interrupting to Relay Information
Here are some short forms you can use to promptly interrupt a discussion in order to relay information to somebody:
I apologize for interrupting, but you’re needed by Mike in the other room.
Pardon me for the interruption. Alice is waiting for you.
Excuse me, could I get through here / your opinion on this / a glass of water?
Interrupting for the Purpose of Asking a Quick Question
Sometimes people need to ask questions unrelated to the matter at hand. Here are some short forms you can use to interrupt a conversation politely in order to ask a question.
I apologize for interrupting, but this won’t take long.
I’m very sorry for interrupting, but could you tell me how to get to Main Street?
Please excuse my interruption; I have a question.
Interrupting to Join a Discussion by Asking a Question
Sometimes, after listening to a conversation for a while, we have the urge to join in. Below are some simple and polite ways to ask to join a discussion.
Could I join in?
May I add something?
Would it be okay if I said something?
Interrupting to Join a Discussion Without Asking a Question
Other times, we may feel the need to interrupt a discussion even if our opinion isn’t asked for because we know we have important information that would add value to the conversation. Here are some forms that can help with that.
I’m sorry to interject, but I believe…
If you don’t mind, I would like to add…
Interrupting a Person Who Has Just Interrupted You
Oftentimes, we ourselves will be interrupted by others. In order to negate another person’s interruption, use these phrases to turn the discussion back over to you.
May I continue?
Excuse me, may I please finish?
I wasn’t done speaking. Please let me finish.
Allowing Someone Else to Interrupt You
In circumstances when somebody has interrupted you, but you would like to allow it, use these expressions to politely turn the discussion over to them.
That’s fine. You may speak.
That’s all right. What’s your opinion on this?
Yes, of course. What did you want to say?
Speaking Again After Being Interrupted
After being interrupted, you can politely turn the conversation back over to you by using one of the following expressions.
Back to where I left off…
So, like I was saying, I believe / feel…
If we can, I’d like to return to what I was saying.
Example 1: Interrupting to Relay Information
Justin: I really hope I can try out for the tennis team this year but I don’t know if I’ll be too busy.
Marlene: Pardon me—you’re needed by Eric.
Justin: Oh, thanks, Marlene. I’ll be right there.
Marlene: You’re welcome.
Example 2: Interrupting for the Purpose of Asking a Quick Question
Joey: Is anyone hungry? Does anyone want to go eat at a restaurant?
Dakota: I would like to go eat.
Lindsay: Excuse me. I’m very sorry for interrupting, but could you tell me how to get to the mall?
Joey: It’s fine. Just head straight down Fifth Avenue and turn left on Main Street.
Lindsay: Thank you!
Example 3: Interrupting to Join a Discussion by Asking a Question
Jennifer: The senator’s social policy is outrageous. I could never vote for her.
Clara: But look at her stance on foreign affairs! How can you say she wouldn’t be a good candidate?
Mitch: May I add something?
Jennifer: Yes, of course. What did you want to say?
Mitch: I believe looking at the senator’s positions on the issues one-by-one is a mistake. We should be considering her political platform as a whole.
Jennifer: Thank you, Mitch. As I was saying, the senator should invest more time in thinking about the social problems facing our country.
When you learn to speak American English fluently, phrases and expressions such as these will come easily to you when you would like to join a discussion. If you’re looking for further knowledge about the English language, you can also improve spoken English with online classes.