language resources Learn English life skills Live English pragmatics

Life skills tip of the week: ways of apologizing

Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skillLearning about pragmatics and how to express yourself successfully is a useful life skillsaid Michael Rundell in January when he introduced the new pragmatics series on Macmillan Dictionary. The series is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign, offering free resources for English language students and teachers each month.

As part of the series, we’ll bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.

This week’s language tip helps with other ways of apologizing:

Sorry/I’m sorry: the usual way of apologizing to someone you know well:
I’m sorry I’m late, Amy. I missed the train. ♦ I’m sorry, I didn’t quite hear what she said.

I do apologize for…: a more polite and formal way of apologizing, used especially when you feel responsible for something that someone else has done:
I do apologize for Julie’s behaviour. She’s normally so reliable.

Excuse me: used when apologizing for something you did accidentally:
Oh, excuse me, I didn’t see you standing there.

I beg your pardon: a more formal way of apologizing for something you did accidentally:
I beg your pardon, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

I/We owe you an apology: used when you realize you have treated someone badly, for example by blaming them for something that is not their fault
We’ve discovered who the thief was, and it seems we owe you an apology.

Please accept my/our apologies: used when making a written or formal apology:
We accept that this was the company’s fault and ask you to accept our sincere apologies.

My apologies: a formal way of saying that you are sorry for something:
My apologies if I have offended you in any way.

I/We regret…: used when making an apology in an official announcement:
We regret to announce that tonight’s performance of La Traviata has been cancelled.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page; we’ll publish the third life skills lesson plan next week. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Leave a Comment