I have been tasked with coming up with a nicer phrase to use than 'It turns out'. It is to be used in situations like this one:

  • 'It turns out' that we cannot...
  • 'It turns out' that we don't...

I know those two examples are followed by negative words, but is there a nicer phrase that can be used? Perhaps even one that may soften the message?

Edit: It is to be used in a spoken context (customer service). Thanks for the suggestions so far.

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    You could also just eliminate the phrase, rather than try to reword it. Compare "It turns out that we cannot travel backward in time" with "We cannot travel backward in time." Sometimes such phrases are superfluous.
    – J.R.
    Apr 5, 2013 at 10:55
  • Thanks for the suggesstion. I should have added it's to be used in a spoken context (customer service), and removing the phrase will seem too uncaring. Question updated. Apr 5, 2013 at 15:25
  • 1
    Then perhaps it would be better to use something less matter-of-fact and more apologetic: "I'm sorry, but we cannot..."
    – J.R.
    Apr 5, 2013 at 15:31

6 Answers 6


I think that if you explain the reason(s) why you cannot do (...) or you don't (...) you can use "as a result".

Perhaps you could start saying "Unfortunately, taking into account that ..., we are sorry to say it is not possible for us to..."

I hope you find my comment useful.

Good luck.

  • Selected this answer as it most closely matched what we ended up going with which was 'Unfortunately, we are not able to ...'. Jan 11, 2015 at 18:39

As it happens...

We have found (alternatively: discovered/realized)...

It seems...

We must (alternatively: regret to) inform you...

The (add one of these if desired: simple/unavoidable/unfortunate) fact is...


In the end (alternatively: last analysis/long run)...

The upshot (alternatively: result/final determination or verdict) is...


A more formal alternative is:

It transpires that...

  • Even thought that does get used (a few examples might have been in order here), it sounds almost too formal for many contexts.
    – J.R.
    Apr 5, 2013 at 10:50

Depending on the circumstances (i.e., there is a cause-and-effect outcome) and depending also on how the sentence and foregoing information have been structured, you might use "consequently."


In the event is sometimes used for this purpose (via sense 2, “The final result; the outcome”). This usage is not frequent or common. Phrases like “As it turns out” or “We find” or other circumlocutions are more likely to be used in the suggested context. For example:

• In the event, we cannot ...
• We find we cannot ...
• Under the circumstances, we cannot ...

Ngrams for As it turns out,We find,In the event,as it turns out,in the event implies that in other contexts than that of the question, “As it turns out” or “as it turns out” occur less freqently than do We find and In the event.

Edit: A comment suggests that the above is “very close”, but that I mean “in any event”, not “in the event”. The comment is wrong. Here are some examples illustrating use of “in the event” as described above. In each example, “in the event” is used with the sense “as it turns out” or “as it turned out” or “as it will turn out”.

• Most of the other victims are also very young and would today be considered virtually children or what many would call Lolitas (although this is to ignore the fact that Nabokov's heroine was only pubescent and in the event was no innocent virgin). – Women in the Ancient World: The Arethusa Papers, J. Peradotto, J. Sullivan, 1984
• ... recommended the raising of the minimum age... but this was not, in the event, accepted by the government. – Poverty in the United Kingdom, Peter Townsend, 1979
• Nevertheless, an optimum rate is based on assumptions about prices and climatic conditions which in the event may turn out to be wrong, although the assumptions were the best available in advance. – Design and analysis of superphosphate trials, K. R. Middleton, 1973
• They were intended to be the first two of a series, which in the event his son finished after his death, and to be a work of national education, a summary of what the modern Egyptian should know about his watan. – Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939, Albert Hourani, 1962
• In fact, every day's experience shews that men are deceived in the event, even when they regard themselves as most certain. – Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, T. D., 1821

  • You're very close, but you mean "in any event," not "in the event." These two have relatively precise meanings. "In any event" means "and so," "and therefore," "as it turns out," or "no matter what" (This last is a fairly close transliteration: "no matter what situation applies" = "in any event"). "In the event," however, is a conditional statement, meaning "if this particular thing should occur." It has only that meaning, and is used in only one way, such as this: "In the event that the building blows up, we will hide underground." Apr 6, 2013 at 6:33
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    @JohnM.Landsberg, you are mistaken; see the examples I added. Apr 6, 2013 at 13:42
  • Yes, well basically the matter is quite simple. Your usage of "in the event" to mean "as it turns out" is entirely correct in British usage, so you are right. In American usage, the "event" phrases occur as I stated, and "in the event" is not used to mean "as it turns out." Neither one of us is wrong, jwpat; we're both right. It's just another case of "two countries separated by a common language." :) Apr 6, 2013 at 17:06
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    I think this is related to the legal term "in the events that have happened" which is used as much in US courts as elsewhere: e.g. supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/28/346 (para 11) Apr 7, 2013 at 17:39

The word however works, since it also creates a “temporal” division between then and now.

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