I read somewhere that we say sorry on average 7 times a day and the average British person will apologise as often as 200,000 times in their life! Sometimes we even say sorry for things we can’t even influence, like the weather. So let’s look at the different phrases we use for apologising. Often it is just for minor things, to our friends and family:

Oops! Sorry.

Sorry about that. 

Hey, my bad! 

Sorry, my fault. 

I messed up. 

I was out of order. 

In more formal situations, we can use these examples:

I would like to apologise. 

I wanted to express, just how sorry I am. 

I would like to say sorry. 

I sincerely apologise. 

I owe you an apology. 

I’m terribly sorry.

Here are some examples of how we can informally respond to those apologies.

That’s alright. 

Never mind. 

That’s okay. 

Don’t worry about it. 

No harm done. 

No worries. 

And here are some examples of how we can formally respond to those apologies:

No need to apologise. 

I accept your apology. 

Don’t mention it. 

I quite understand. 

You couldn’t help it. 

It doesn’t matter. 

In some cases we would like to apologise in advance, in order to get someone’s attention. For example in a bus or in a restaurant, when you’d like someone to move out of your way, or if you’d like to ask if the chair is free:

Excuse me, could I just pass you by? 

Pardon me, is this chair taken?

I hope you have learned some new phrases, that you can use for this situation.

Apologising in English

Click on the image to watch a video about how to Apologise in English

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