English Tips - 6 Unique Ways to Say “Sorry”

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What do you say when you make a mistake? If you use sorry often, the expression may lose a little of its power. Here are six other words for saying sorry.

1. My Apologies

My apologies is another word for “I’m sorry.” It’s rather formal, so it’s fine for business contexts. Commonly, people use it to decline an invitation or express regret at not being able to fulfill a request. However, it may be perceived as sarcastic in casual settings, so choose carefully when and with whom to use it.

Example: My apologies, but your order will not arrive until Monday.

2. Pardon/Pardon Me/I Beg Your Pardon

Pardon is a verb which means to allow as a courtesy. Pardon me asks the offended or wronged person to excuse your mistake. Pardon used alone is a shortened form of “I beg your pardon.” In that instance, pardon is a noun that means forgiveness or tolerance.

Example: Pardon me; I didn’t mean to offend you.

3. Excuse Me

Excuse me is used to politely interrupt a conversation. You might also say it if you commit a social no-no.

Example: Excuse me; I didn’t realize that wearing shoes indoors was impolite in this country.

4. Mea Culpa

This Latin phrase derives from a Catholic prayer. Nowadays, people use mea culpa to apologize or take responsibility for wrongdoing. You might see this phrase in newspapers, for example, to apologize for misinformation or to retract a statement made in error.

Example: The witness wrote a statement of mea culpa after he was caught lying in court.

5. Oops/Whoops

Oops (or whoops) is used for mild errors or social blunders. If you spill a glass of water, you might use this exclamation of chagrin for your mistake. On the other hand, if you break an invaluable heirloom vase, a stronger apology might be in order.

Example: Whoops, I broke your coffee mug.

6. My Bad

My bad is a slang expression used to claim responsibility for a deed. If you bump someone on the street, you can say “my bad” to let them know you acknowledge your fault. My bad should only be used in casual speech or among friends.

Example: I lost the book you lent me. My bad! I will buy you a replacement.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry. With so many new ways to say you’re sorry, you can apologize for your gaffes and goofs in style! What’s your favorite way to say you’re sorry?


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