Different Ways To Say 'I'm Sorry' in English

The English language has again proven itself as a language that is very rich in synonyms and vocabulary. The other day, I showed us different ways to say 'thank you', and today, I will be showing us different ways to say 'I'm sorry' in English. If you are someone who doesn't like doing things the conventional way, this article is yours. Enjoy yourself as I take you on this stress-free ride.

Some of the different ways to say 'I'm sorry' in English are:

1. To Apologise
The verb, 'to apologise' is a very formal way to say 'sorry.' It is mostly used by companies or organisations to their customers if they feel their customers have been mistreated or inconvenienced on a particular issue. If you are an MTN user, you can attest to the fact that most times the telecommunication company sends a message like: "...we sincerely apologise for the inconveniences..." if it feels its customers are finding it difficult to make calls or surf the net as a result of system upgrade or poor network signal.

You as an individual can also use it to say 'sorry' to someone you offended.
I apologise for not visiting you as agreed.

2. I hope you can forgive my action.
It is another way to say 'sorry', but you use it if there is an intimate relationship between you and the person you are asking for his/her pardon because 'forgiveness' implies that there is a very personal element to the plea. In other words, you ask for forgiveness if the person is very close to you; otherwise, you should use either of the other ways.
I was really in a bad mood when your call came in hence my rude utterances to you. I hope you can forgive my actions.

3. I owe you an apology
Unlike 'I apologise', in this case we are using the noun, 'apology'. It is a formal way to say 'sorry' and can be used between friends whose friendship has been dismantled  for one reason or the other, and one is accepting that he/she is wrong and is trying to make it right.
I owe you an apology for my unruly behaviour the other day.

4. That was my bad/My bad.
I actually learnt this from a friend on one of  the social media platforms. Surprisingly, it is a way to say 'sorry' but an informal and colliqual way of doing that. It can only be used among friends/peer groups and age mates because it may seem disrespectful saying it to someone who is older than you.

Question: Tammy, why didn't you call me before going to church as you promised?

Tammy: Oh! It's my bad.

In sum, 'I'm sorry' can heal many wounds, so it is important we cultivate the habit of saying 'sorry' anytime we offend each other. Using any of the of the aforementioned patterns will no doubt show that you are truly sorry for your actions without using the conventional form (I'm sorry). 'I'm sorry' can be used in all context but if you want to vary your vocabulary by using either of the aforementioned ways, you should always use it properly.

Tamuno Reuben

Those who seek knowledge seek power because the pen is mightier than the sword.


  1. Am familair with 3&4 bit not 1&2. Thanks for the eye opener

  2. That is why I love English - it has a lot of interesting and useful expressions like those you have listed above. All you need is to know the difference ;) thank you for posting!

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