This pilot study aims to find out the preferred semantic formulas and their sequences in refusal to suggestions in academic contexts corresponding to power variations by Japanese and Chinese EFL learners. Twenty-six Japanese, thirty-one Chinese and five native speakers of English responded to a written discourse completion test. It was found that in comparison with the native speakers of English, the Japanese utilized some semantic formulas which conveyed positive reactions to build up preparations for the coming refusal, showing an indirect way for refusal. The Chinese group was the second indirect in terms of this preparation. A feature shared by the Japanese and Chinese EFL learners was that they preferred the way that a statement of refusal followed a statement of justification, which was the reversed way that was preferred by the native speakers of English. The factor of power affected all the three groups to some extent; however it affected the Japanese most.