This is How you APOLOGIZE in German

This is How you APOLOGIZE in German

Hey, Vanessa! Bedrückt dich etwas? Du siehst traurig aus.
(Hey, Vanessa! Is something bothering you? You seem sad.)

Ja, Denisa, ich habe es vermasselt. Ich muss mich bei jemandem auf Deutsch entschuldigen. Aber ich weiß nicht, wie.
(Yes, Denisa, I messed up. I need to apologize to someone in German, but I don’t know, how.)

Keine Sorge, Vanessa! Ich kann dir dabei helfen. Es gibt verschiedene Wege, sich auf Deutsch zu entschuldigen. Ich zeige dir fünf.
(No worries, Vanessa! I can help you with that. There are several ways to say “sorry” in German. I’ll show you 5.)

Das wäre super!
(That would be great!)

Willkommen bei Spring German! Ich bin Denisa.

In this video you will learn 5 different versions of sorry depending on the context. Bist du bereit? Los geht’s! (Are you ready? Let’s go!)

1. (Es) tut mir leid (I’m sorry)

Es tut mir leid. Ich war gemein zu dir.
(Okay. I’m sorry.)

Mach dir keine Sorgen. Schon vergessen.
(Don’t worry! Already forgotten.)

Literally, Es tut mir leid (I’m sorry) means “It causes me sorrow”. A lot of times the “Es” (It) is left out and people only say “Tut mir leid” (I’m sorry). If they want to emphasize how sorry they are, they can say:

  • Tut mir wirklich leid. (I’m really sorry.)
  • Tut mir ehrlich leid. (I’m seriously sorry.)
  • Tut mir aufrichtig leid. (I’m sincerely sorry.)

Chunk alert!

The chunk for today is “Schon vergessen” (Already forgotten). “Schon vergessen” (Already forgotten) is an informal expression used to reassure someone that there is no need to be concerned. Just like I did in the dialogue before:

Mach dir keine Sorgen. Schon vergessen.
(No worries! Already forgotten.)

There are other alternatives for replying when someone is saying sorry to you:

  • Kein Problem. (No problem.)
  • Macht nichts. (It doesn’t matter.)
  • Alles gut. (All good.)
  • Das ist schon in Ordnung.(That’s alright.)

Do you want to learn more helpful chunks like this? We have a free essential German chunking kit for you where you can learn a lot of helpful chunks in German. The link is in the description.

2. Verzeihung (Excuse me)

Verzeihung” (Excuse me) is a formal and polite version for saying you’re sorry, for example when you want to ask for the way, hurt someone, forgot their name and so on. It carries a sense of asking for forgiveness for an offense.

Verzeihung, wo finde ich das Kino?
(Pardon me, where do I find the cinema?)

So remember to only use Verzeihung (Pardon me) with strangers or people you don’t know well.

Other examples are:

  • Verzeihung, wie ist nochmal Ihr Name? (Excuse me, what was your name again?)
  • Verzeihung, könnte ich ein Taschentuch haben? (Excuse me, may I have a tissue?)
  • Verzeihung, dass ich Sie angerempelt habe. (Excuse me that I bumped into you.)

3. Entschuldigung (I apologize)

Entschuldigung” (I apologize) is used to apologize, ask for forgiveness, or to politely get someone’s attention. It is a common word used in everyday interactions.

It’s more than just saying “sorry” and can be used as a synonym for Verzeihung (Excuse me). But unlike Verzeihung (Excuse me) Germans use “Entschuldigung” (I apologize) with strangers and friends or family.


Entschuldigung, falls ich dich gerade störe, Tante Gerda. Hast du kurz Zeit zu telefonieren?

(I’m sorry if I’m bothering you, aunt Gerda. Do you have a moment to talk on the phone?)

Other examples:

  • Entschuldigung, darf ich Sie etwas fragen? (Sorry, may I ask you something?)
  • Entschuldigung, dass ich zu spät bin. (I apologize for being late.)
  • Entschuldigung. Ich hab’ es vergessen. (I apologize. I forgot it.)

When asking for the way, Entschuldigung (I apologize) can also be translated as “Excuse me”.

Stay tuned because at the end of this video I will show you some sentences that you can use after saying you’re sorry.

4. Sorry (Sorry)

Sorry, dass ich zu spät bin.
(Sorry that I’m late.)

Kein Problem.
(Well, this I know from English. I use it all the time.)

“Sorry” is probably the most known way of apologizing because it’s the same as in English. But in German, you shouldn’t use it in official appointments. It’s more likely to be used among friends and family.

Some examples:

  • Sorry, dass ich zu spät bin. (Sorry that I’m late.)
  • Sorry, dass ich zu laut war. (Sorry that I was too loud.)
  • Sorry. Ich habe die Milch vergessen . (Sorry. I forgot the milk.)

Also, Sorry (Sorry) is said when there is no big mistake made. You know, when you really messed up you should say “Es tut mir leid” (I’m sorry) or sentences like this:

5. Helpful sentences to apologize

If you want to be able to say more than just “Es tut mir leid” (I’m sorry) you can also say these sentences:

  • Es war meine Schuld. (It was my fault.)
  • Ich mach’s nicht mehr. (I will not do it again.)
  • Es wird nicht noch einmal vorkommen. (It will not happen again.)

If you then want to ask if the person forgives you you can say:

  • Verzeihst du mir? (Do you forgive me?) or
  • Nimmst du meine Entschuldigung an? (Do you accept my apology?)

Now, let’s learn how to say thank you in German! We have a whole video about it here. Have fun!

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