Sometimes those mistakes will certainly be embarrassing. Sometimes, they could even it is in offensive.

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That absolutely doesn’t average that you should stop trying out your French. It doesn’t typical you have to keep your mouth shut uneven you’re 100% sure your grammar is impeccable.

However, it can be valuable to recognize how to say “sorry” in French.

Hopefully you’re not planning top top robbing any banks in France, however making language mistakes, bumping into someone or saying something crude in fury can take place to anyone.

It may not constantly be pleasant, but being able come excuse yourself, apologize and also accept obligation will increase not only your French skills, but likewise your capability to truly connect with aboriginal French speakers.

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When “Sorry” simply Isn’t Enough

You might be wondering why you have to study how to apologize. Execute you really require several ways to express regret?

Fair question.

Some means of apologizing, similar to all French communication, are much more or less formal than others. Apologizing come a close girlfriend is different from excusing yourself to a stranger or in a expert context.

Plus, we recognize intuitively that no all wrongs space equally heinous. Overestimating her charitable donations on her tax creates isn’t the very same thing together murdering someone.So you’ll need different apologies in various settings.

Similarly, coincidentally bumping into someone…c’est pas grave(it’s no serious). However, utilizing a word in French the you didn’t realize to be a cuss word or a racial slur can be deeply hurtful.

For instance, i was in ~ a conversation cafe for world to exercise French whereby a woman supplied the wordnègre (a French equivalent of the “n-word”) once she meant simplynoir (black). She was hurriedly corrected and embarrassingly, dear apologized.

Nevertheless, that was understood that us were every learning, so the didn’t develop a major situation. Remember, also if you’re talking with indigenous speakers (great for you!) they’ll usually be patient v language learners and understand if you take place to do afaux pas.

But it certainly won’t hurt to know exactly how to apologize when necessary.

Besides, French is a beautiful and wonderfully affluent language. Although various words or phrases may have similar meanings, they’ll nevertheless connect subtly different things. In bespeak to it is in an progressed and at some point fluent speaker, you’ll need to become comfortable through these nuances.

Désolé! 6 ways to Say sorry in French and Ease the Guilty Conscience

Je Suis Désolé(e) — i am sorry

Je suis désolé(e)is by far the most common and one of the broadest methods to apologize. It’s essentially the equivalent of “I to be sorry” in English.

It’s totally appropriate in several contexts, including making a mistake, if you realize you offended someone, if you found yourself utilizing the not correct word, etc.

Although widening your vocabulary is always encouraged, if you just remember among these ways to to speak “sorry” in French (or aren’t sure which to rental in a details context),je suis désolé(e)is usuallya safe bet.

Je suis désolée, mais je dois partir tôt.(I to be sorry, however I have to leave early.)

Good news! Grammatical gender won’t influence how this expression is pronounced. However, if you’re creating it out, you’ll require to include an “-e” because that the mrs form.

In a casual situation, you can also simply say, “désolé(e),” simply as someone can say “sorry” rather of the complete sentence.

On the various other hand, you can take that a step further and say, “Je suisvraiment désolé(e)” (“I am an extremely sorry”) or“Je suis tellement désolé(e)(“I am so sorry”).

To explain or confess what you’re apologizing for, you might employdeand an infinitive verb.

Je suis désoléde vous téléphoner si tard.(I am i m really sorry to call you this late.)

Another construction is similar:que (that) and an independent i (a expression that might stand alone as its own sentence) with the verb in the subjunctive.

Je suis désolé que le poulet soit un peu brûlé.(I am i m really sorry the chicken is a tiny burnt.)

Je Regrette—I to be sorry

Je regrette is much less common, but its use is comparable to that ofje suis désolé(e).

Just together it looks and sounds,je regretteliterally method “I regret,” yet is usually translated and also used as “I am sorry.”

You may likewise employdeand an infinitive verb orqueand an elevation clause v a goodbye verb, together withje suis désolé(e).

Je regrette de vous téléphoner si tard.(I am i m really sorry to contact you this late.)

Je regrette que le poulet soit un peu brûlé.(I to be sorry that the chicken is a small burnt.)


This one is quite comparable to the English counterpart. The stands alone and also is most generally used come ask someone to repeat what lock said, or together a simple apology top top bumping right into someone.

However, you can worry a more powerful apology by employing a phrase carefully related topardon:pardonnes-moi(forgive me) for the informaltuform, orpardonnez-moi(forgive me) for the formalvous form.

Pardonnez-moi. C’était un accident. (Forgive me. It to be an accident.)


Hear exactly how native speakers usage this phrase (as well together the one below) in this French sketch comedy video. You have the right to findthis video, together with many other, ~ above bring away real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and also inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language finding out lessons.

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Excusez-moi—Excuse Me

Yay! one more one that’s comparable to English.Excusez-moialso has actually a similar role aspardon: asking for clarification, gaining onto a overfilled métro train, etc.

Excusez-moi. Qu’est-ce quevous avez dit?(Excuse me. What did you say?)

Although this term is more likely to come increase in a official situation, save in mind the the informal variation of this phrase isexcuses-moi(taken from thetuconjugated form ofexcuser).

There’s another really helpful expression that come fromexcuser(to excuse):Excusez-moi de vous déranger.(Excuse me for bothering you.)

French society tends to it is in formal. Thus, sparking a conversation through a stranger can be a tricky operation. Opening withexcusez-moi de vousdéranger is a polite method to ask because that help. Starting with together a show of respect deserve to make someone an ext willing to give you direction or price a question.

Excusez-moi de vous déranger. Savez-vous où se trouve la boulangerie?(Sorry to bother you. Execute you recognize where the bakery is?)

C’est (de) Ma Faute—It’s mine Fault

Sometimes as soon as I was a kid, I would become very angry and, once told to apologize, might only manage a stubborn “sorry.” that was evident that i was just going with the motions.

If you wish to emphasize her sincerity, you might go a step further thandésolé(e) and confess the you did undoubtedly do something wrong withc’est ma faute orc’est de ma faute. The previous version is technically correct yet the latter is very common.

This could be a an excellent component of a much longer apology or explanation, the type you could give ~ above offending a friend.

C’est (de) ma faute. C’était moi qui a pris ta parapluie. Je ne savais pas que c’était à toi.(It’s my fault. It to be me who took your umbrella. I didn’t know it to be yours.)

Similarly, you can sayc’était (de) ma faute(it to be my fault) if you’re discussing a previous offense.

Veuillez Nous Excuser—Please forgive Us

This last one is more for comprehension than because that usage. That is, unless you want to begin a struggle French business!


What we mean is that this phrase is really formal and rarely stated aloud. It’s most regularly used in a service or professional context, such as in a letter from a firm or on a sign at a store.

Veuillez nous excuser de cette erreur.(Please excuse united state for this error.)

For one more example and humorous vignettes, inspect out this short article in the French newspaperLe Monde(The World). It features stories from numerous readers about the worst next-door neighbors they’ve had.

Excuse me for acquisition your time, even though it was time fine spent.

My apologies if analysis this has made you more passionate and also knowledgeable around French. It’s our fault.

Forgive united state for dispersing the French an insect to you.

Please expropriate these numerous ways come say “sorry” in French!

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Rachel Larsen is a lifelong francophile and freelance writer who desires of living in France one day. She’s at this time a student at Moody bible Institute in Chicago. To learn more, visit her LinkedIn page.

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