Way back in the dim, distant past when I first started learning French, I think I remember being told that to accept an offer, you say "s'il vous plaît" and to decline, you use 'merci".
Eg.: Voulez-vous un verre de vin? Oui, s'il vous plaît./ Non, merci.
I think we also learnt that if you simply replied "merci", it would be understood as declining the offer.
Is this correct?
Freeform Writing Exercise B2
Just to supplement on Chris's answer, saying "merci" on its own to decline an offer never happens. There is always a particular body language associated with it, which makes it unambiguous (i.e. slightly waving one finger or a hand for example).
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
Yes, it does seem that merci by itself is widely interpreted as "No, thank you". If you want to accept an offer, saying oui, merci or oui, avec plaisir is unambiguous. And, of course, the usual accompanying body language helps too.
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