Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Stop saying I'M SORRY: More ways to apologize in English

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My name is Emma, and in today's video I am going to talk about how to say: "I'm sorry"

in English, and how to apologize.

I'm also going to talk about ways we talk about making mistakes, and ways we talk about



So this video is really about when you've done something wrong and you have to say:

"I'm sorry", and how to say: "I'm sorry", you know, to make the other person feel better.

Okay, so let's get started.

The first thing I wanted to talk about is reasons.

What are some reasons why we say: "I'm sorry"?

What are some reasons why we apologize?

(Which is another word for "I'm sorry").

There are many reasons.

I've come up with a very short list.

The number of reasons for why we say: "I'm sorry" is enormous; it's very large.

So, this is a small list, but I thought about: We often say: "I'm sorry" when we're late,

so we've told our friend: "I'm going to be there at 1pm", and then we show up at 1:30.

So, we say: "I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I'm late."

Sometimes we might accidentally break something.

Maybe we break somebody's lamp, or maybe we spill something - we drop wine on their carpet,

so we'd say: "I'm sorry".

Sometimes, you know, maybe somebody's saying something bad about someone else, and that

person finds out that, you know, the person has said something bad-we call that "gossip"-and

so you might apologize if you've said something bad about somebody.

You might say: "I'm sorry" if you said something rude or impolite.

Maybe if you were not nice to somebody; you did something that was bad or that was wrong,

or you made a mistake.

Maybe you had tuna for lunch with a whole bunch of onions, and now your breath smells,

and so when you come back to work, you might say: "Oh, I'm sorry.

I had tuna for lunch."


This is...

I hear this one quite a lot.

So maybe you ate something that has a very strong smell, and you're saying: "I'm sorry"

for that.

Sometimes we also say sorry to be polite.

So, sometimes we didn't make a mistake; somebody else made a mistake; and to be polite, we

still say: "I'm sorry".

I know it's a little bit strange, but for example, if you go to a restaurant and you

order chicken, and the waiter comes and he brings you beef, then you might say: "I'm


This isn't what I ordered."


So, there are many reasons why we say: "I'm sorry".

So now let's look at some of the ways we say: "I'm sorry".

Okay, so the word "apology", "apology" means the same thing as "sorry".


When you give an apology, it means you're saying you're sorry.

So, let's look at some ways to say sorry.

Well, we have: "Sorry", which is pretty informal; if you made a mistake with your friends or

just in general conversation, we often just say: "Oh, sorry".

We might say: "I'm sorry for" and give the reason why we're sorry.

"I'm sorry for breaking your iPad.", "I'm sorry for not calling you.", "I'm sorry for

being late.", "I'm sorry for forgetting your birthday."


"I'm sorry for not being there."

What you'll notice is when we use the word "for" after "I'm sorry"-this means we're giving

a reason-we usually have a verb and "ing" with it, so it's the verb in the "ing" form.


So: "I'm sorry for breaking", so you'll notice "break" and then "ing".

"I'm sorry for forgetting" - you'll notice "ing".

And if we want to say something that we didn't do that we're sorry for, we just add the word


"I'm sorry for not calling.", "I'm sorry for not answering the phone.", "I'm sorry for

not telling you about, you know, my problem."


So, we can... if we want to talk about something we didn't do that we're sorry for, we use

the word "not".

So: "I'm sorry for" is something we use a lot, but if we wanted to be more formal...

imagine you're at work and you make a mistake, and you're talking to your boss-okay?-you

might want to use more formal English for when you're talking at work.

You might say: "I apologize", which is similar to the word "apology".

"Apologize", okay?

So, it's four syllables: "apologize".

"I apologize".

You can say that.

And if you want, just like "sorry", you can also add the word "for" and give a reason.

"I apologize for breaking it.", "I apologize for missing the meeting.", "I apologize for

being late every day."

So, if you're going to apologize to your boss or, you know, you're in a formal situation,

you can use the words "apologize".

And then, again, it follows the same rule as "sorry for", where you just have the verb

with "ing".

Okay, so we've looked at how to apolo-... or how to say: "I'm sorry", we've looked at

if you're in a formal situation you can say: "I apologize".

Now, if you are writing somebody, maybe you have a customer and you want to say: "I'm

sorry" because your company made a mistake, or maybe there's something where you have

to be very, very formal, then what we would use in that case is something maybe like this:

"Please accept my sincerest apologies."

You wouldn't say something like this to your friend, because it's very formal, you wouldn't

say something like this to a child, but you might say something like this if you're at

work and you have to write an apology or you need to write: "I'm sorry" - this would be

a great way to do it.

"Please accept my sincerest", and "sincere" means your honest apologies.


So, these are three ways to say: "I'm sorry".

Now let's learn more about what else we can say when we're apologizing.

Okay, so we've already talked about how to say: "I'm sorry" if we're talking informally

or formally.

Sometimes we also want to talk a little bit more about our mistake-okay?-or what we did wrong.

So, here are some expressions we often use in English to do this.

We often say: "I didn't mean to", "I didn't mean to", "I didn't mean to break your cup",

"I didn't mean to..."

You know, "I didn't mean to do that.", "I didn't mean to hurt you."


"I didn't mean to break your heart."

So we use it for a lot of different things.

Sometimes we just say: "I didn't mean to", and what that means is that we don't want

to do something bad; we didn't plan to do something bad.

There was no plan, we didn't want something bad to happen, but it did.

So we made a mistake, but we didn't plan for that mistake to happen.

"I didn't mean to."

We can also say: "It was an accident."

Again, these two mean the same thing.

It means there was no plan to cause problems or to hurt somebody.

There was no plan, it happened, but it was an accident.

There was no intention to do wrong.

So, if you watch English movies or listen to a lot of English songs, you'll often hear

these expressions: "I didn't mean to.

It was an accident."

Sometimes we also want to tell somebody: "You know what?

I made a mistake.

It's my fault.

I did it."


So imagine if, you know, you feel terrible, you did something wrong, and you want to tell

somebody that you did something wrong - you can say: "It's my fault", which means: "It's

my mistake".

Or sometimes maybe you didn't do anything wrong, and if this is the case, you can say:

"It's his fault", "It's her fault", "It's your fault", okay?

Meaning: "It's his mistake", "It's her mistake", "It's your mistake", so that's something you

will commonly hear.

When you're apologizing, though, usually you're apologizing because you did something wrong,

so you'll probably say: "It's my fault".


Another thing we sometimes do when we're apologizing is we talk about regret.

So, what do I mean by this?

We talk about that we made a mistake, but we wished we didn't.

We wished we didn't make it, but we did.

So if we could change time, we wouldn't have made that mistake, but we did make it.

So this is a regret.

So, for example, when I was a child, one time I pushed my sister, and she fell and she cried,

and I felt really bad about it.

I regretted it.

I wished I hadn't pushed her.


So that's what I mean by "regret".

So, we often use this piece of grammar when we talk about regret: "I shouldn't have".

This means you wished you hadn't done something.

"I shouldn't have said that."

We use this a lot in English; when you say something and then, you know... you're really

angry with somebody, you say something and then you think: "Oh, that was a bad thing

to say.

I shouldn't have said that."

Maybe: "I shouldn't have been late.", "I shouldn't have done that."


"I shouldn't have eaten all the cake.", "I shouldn't have been mean to that person.",

"I shouldn't have skipped school."


There's a lot of things that we might regret.

So, the key here is you say: "I shouldn't", and the "n't" means "not".

"I shouldn't have", and then we have the verb in the past participle.

So, I'll just put "pp" for short for "past participle".

So, what are "past participles"?

We have a list on with a lot of common past participles, so they're the

third form of the verb.

So, usually they end in "ed", so for example: "I shouldn't have jumped", "I shouldn't have

run so fast", "I shouldn't have cried".


A lot of the times they end in "ed", or we have irregular.


So, if you need a list of past participles, we got that.

So: "I shouldn't have done it."

So, if you're having trouble in terms of this grammar, I find that listening to music that

has a piece of grammar in it can really help.

And so there's a song from the 90s by a man called Slick Rick, he's a rapper, and he has

a song, and the song is called: "I Shouldn't Have Done It".

So if you're like me and you learn a lot by listening to music, this might be a song that

can help you remember how to talk about regret.

All right, so now let's talk a little bit more about how to say we're sorry.

Okay, so you've apologized, you've talked about your regrets; what you wished you hadn't

done, so the next thing we're going to talk about is: How can you fix it?

When we apologize or we say: "I'm sorry", a lot of the times if it's something serious

we did... okay?

So, sometimes we apologize or we say: "I'm sorry" for something small.

If it's something big, we might say: "How can I make it up to you?", "How can I make

it up to you?"

It's a very common expression, and it means: "How can I fix this?

I made a mistake.

What can I do to fix this?

How can I make it up to you?"


So, you know, this can sometimes help; sometimes the person might say: "There's nothing you

can do."

Or they might say: "Well, you know, you can do this" or "I'd like you to do this."


So, again, we don't say this all the time, but if it's something serious we've done,

when we apologize, we might say something like this: "How can I make it up to you?"

So, in Canada we actually apologize a lot; it's a bit of a stereotype, so if you're ever

in Canada visiting or you live in Canada, you might notice people say: "I'm sorry" a


And so what's really important is to know: What do you say when someone says: "I'm sorry"?

Well, you can say: "That's okay.", "No worries.", "No problem.", "It's all right.", "It's cool."

So these are very common informal things we might say to, you know, our friends or to

maybe our family.

"It's okay.

It's all right.

It's all... it's all good."

We sometimes say that, too: "It's all good."

You know, so these are very common to say.

If somebody is apologizing for something very serious, we might say... if it's true, we

might say: "I forgive you."

This is more serious than these.


These are for small apologies; whereas this is for something more serious: "I forgive



So it's important to know this because, you know, people apologize a lot and it's good

to know what to say when someone apologizes.

The other thing I wanted to talk about is the importance of how you say: "I'm sorry".

Our voice is very important, and it carries a lot of the meaning of what we're saying.

So, there's a difference between: "I'm really sorry" versus: "I'm sorry".


So you really need to be careful on how you say: "I'm sorry" so people don't think you're

being sarcastic or that you're not really sorry.

So it's good to listen to how people say: "I'm sorry".

And, you know, look at their face; they should be, you know, honest and look really like

they mean it.

So, be careful with your tone.

Tone or your voice when you say: "I'm sorry" is key.

And, also, you want to apologize at the level of what the problem is.

So, say for instance, if you did something small that's wrong, you might just say: "I'm


If you did something really... you made some big, big mistake, you might say a lot more:

"I'm terribly sorry I made, you know, a terrible decision."

So, also be aware that for small apologies, a lot of the times a simple "Sorry" is all

you need.

So, thank you for watching.

I've talked about a lot of different things today, so I hope you come visit our website

at because we have a quiz there on everything you've just learned.


This is a great way for you to practice, you know, the grammar and the vocabulary from

this lesson.

I also would like to invite you to subscribe to my channel; there we have a lot of great

resources on all sorts of things to do with English, so I hope you check that out.

Until next time, thank you for watching and take care.

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