how to apologise

In Ireland we apologise for everything. We are so enthusiastic about apologising that we even say “sorry” when we mean “excuse me”. We’re not really sorry, we just want to get past you.

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Sorry, I just needed to get that off my chest.

So, how do we apologise?

The basic and most used apology is “I’m sorry”. This is also what we say when we interrupt a conversation or when we want to get past someone on the bus or street.

Pardon me” can also be used to get someone’s attention or get past someone.

Other ways to apologies are

I’d like to apologise.
I really must apologise.
Please accept my sincere/sincerest apologies.

You can add a reason to these. I’d like to apologise for my behaviour last night.

I don’t know what to say.
Forgive me.
I know it was wrong.
There is really / absolutely no excuse for my actions / behaviour.
I take (full) responsibility for …
I made a mistake

These are not just apologies but also ways of admitting something was your responsibility or your mistake.

Celebrities have made a habit out of public apologies. Here are just a few of the most notorious.


In the classroom
One of the most frequently used apologies in a classroom is when a student hasn’t got their homework done.

“I’m really sorry but I left it at home; I’ll bring it in tomorrow” – A classic and hard to disprove.

how to apologise


“Please don’t kill me but I forgot to do it; I’m really sorry, it won’t happen again” – The honest approach, but don’t use it too often.

You can also take full responsibility for not doing your homework.


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Or, you can pretend that it wasn’t your fault.

“I don’t know what to say but… my dog ate it / my cat got sick on it / I seem to have lost it” – all very unlikely.

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Or you could say it in a song:


If you prefer the romantic power ballad: