My new student understands that his English is not as good as he would like and spends a lot of time saying “sorry” for his poor English. If he did not have poor English and a desire to improve it I would not have a job!
It got me thinking of the different ways in which we may say sorry in English.
Different Ways to Say SORRY in English
SORRY: Sorry is used in lots of different situations to express your feelings.
I am sorry for hurting your feelings. I am sorry for your troubles.
FORGIVE ME: A little more formal but has the same meaning.
Please forgive me for my unkind words. Please forgive me for not inviting you to the party.
I BEG YOUR PARDON: A bit old fashioned but still used in some circles. We want someone to forgive us for some words or action so we say
I beg your pardon can you please forget what I said!
EXCUSE ME: This can be used both to say sorry and to interrupt someone.
Excuse me for my bad manners allow me to carry that for you!
Excuse me for interrupting but could I ask you a question.
I REGRET: I regret what I said I should have thought about it more carefully before speaking.
I regret that you believe this malicious article it is not really true.
I APOLOGISE: Please let me apologise for my outburst yesterday. I was upset and full of emotion.
I apologise on behalf of the airline. The flight was unduly detained because of bad weather.
PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES: much more formal. Very polite. A form of words usually used by big business when customers complain about a poor service.
Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience you suffered when the train failed to arrive on the time indicated in your ticket.
Ways to Say Sorry in English - Infographic
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WE TAKE/ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENED: Again more formal and more likely to be used by a business or similar institution where they are clearly at fault (responsible) for some action or in-action.
My company accepts full responsibility for the damage caused by our workers. They should have made sure that your car was protected from any possible damage.
OH I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST DID THIS!: a form of apology that we hear from time to time when somebody said or did something they should not have done.
Oh I can’t believe i just said that what was i thinking. I am really sorry.
MY MISTAKE! A quick apology when someone apologises immediately. Someone picks up the wrong phone from a table or someone else’s bag in the airport and realises they have someone else’s property.
My mistake, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. I think this is your phone. It looks just like mine!
OH MY GOD! I’M REALLY SORRY, I DIDN’T SEE YOU THERE: A very apologetic phrase perhaps when we push a door open and bump into someone by accident or when we are perhaps not looking where we are going and knock into someone with our suitcase or shopping trolley.
And of course if you are stuck for words simply say it with flowers!! Always a good way to apologise. Just make sure you apologise at the right time. There will be time when saying SORRY may not make a difference!
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