If you have been to England, I’m sure you have experienced English politeness. In England, people apologise a lot. Have you ever stepped on someone’s foot and the other person says sorry before you?! I suppose they feel sorry that their foot was in your way!
There are many different ways to say sorry in English depending on the situation, who you are apologising to and how you are feeling.
This is a very common, simple apology and there are many situations we can use it in. For example,
– when we bump into someone on the street (“Sorry!”)
– when we know we have done something wrong (e.g. “Sorry I’m late”)
This is a weak apology so don’t use it if you have done something very wrong – it won’t sound strong enough!
2. I’m so / very / extremely / terribly sorry
This is similar to “sorry” but adding an extra word makes the meaning stronger. For example: “I’m so sorry I didn’t come to your party yesterday.”“I can’t believe I forgot the tickets. I’m terribly sorry!”
3. How careless of me!
This phrase is used when we criticise ourselves for making a mistake. For example: “I just broke a glass, how careless of me! I’ll buy you a new one.”
4. I shouldn’t have…
We use this when we realise that we have done something that we shouldn’t have done and now we regret it. For example: “I shouldn’t have shouted at you last night. I didn’t mean what I said.”
5. Please accept my (sincere) apologies
This is a very formal way of apologising, especially when the word ‘sincere’ is included. It is usually used in formal letters. For example: “Please accept my sincere apologies for the mistake. We will refund the money to your account immediately.”
It’s very important to know how to apologise in all languages and cultures. Moreover, everyone makes mistakes. Now you know how to say sorry in almost any situation… and if these phrases do not work, you can always send flowers! :)
And, the best advice, be cheerful, positive and keep smiling =)