“Excuse me. Can I slide past you?”

English Lesson: Excuse me. Can I slide past you?

You're sitting in the window seat in coach on an airplane. You need to go to the restroom, but the person sitting next to you is taking up too much space and you can't get out. You say this to him.

Excuse me. Can I slide past you?

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Excuse me.

Say "Excuse me" to get the attention of strangers in a polite way:

Excuse me. Do you know where the bathroom is? 

When you pronounce "excuse me", it can sound like "'Scuze me"

In some English-speaking areas, it's also polite to add "Sir" (for men) or "Ma'am" or "Miss" (for women):

Excuse me, Ma'am. You dropped this on the sidewalk back there.

But since these titles are actually thought to be impolite in some areas, it's best to listen first to see if other people around you are using them.

Can I slide past you?

This is a polite question to ask when you need to get into a place that's being blocked by someone's body. Some other examples of situations that you can use this in are:

  • when you're walking through a crowd of people.
  • when you need to walk past people sitting in your row to get to your seat in a theater.

"Can I slide past you?" is a friendly way to ask this. It sounds friendly because the word "slide" sounds so smooth and easy. It's like you're saying, "Can I go past you quietly and without bothering you much?"

If you're more annoyed or if you're a loud and aggressive person, you can ask like this:

Can I get by?

You could also ask "May I...?"