How to Say “Sorry” in English

Everybody makes mistakes. Learn how to apologise (say sorry) for your mistakes before you make them.

Ways to Apologise
I’m sorry.
I’m so sorry!
Sorry for your loss. (a person or pet died)
Sorry to hear that. (after someone shares bad news such as a child’s illness or a job loss)
I apologise. (you’ve made an error)
Sorry for keeping you waiting.
Sorry I’m late.
Please forgive me.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. (you did something by accident)
Excuse me (you need to get by OR your body released gas)
Pardon me (you need to interrupt OR same as “excuse me”)
I owe you an apology. (your mistake happened a while ago)

Common Gestures that go with Apologies
Eye contact (look into the other’s person’s eyes as you say “sorry”)
Hold one hand in front of your mouth after you make a mistake
Hold a hand over your heart as you say sorry
Wide eyes and mouth show how sorry you are

When words are not enough:
bring flowers
bring a hot coffee or tea
bring a bottle of wine
leave an apology phone message
send an e-card

Slang for “I’m sorry”
My bad (common among teenagers)
Whoops (casual)
Oops, sorry. (casual or sarcastic)

There is a very popular song that uses a common English phrase for a repeated mistake: “Oops, I did it again.”

Note: apologise (British English); apologize (British/American English)

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | August 2009
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.


Leave a comment

Is there anything wrong with this page? Let us know ↗️