How to Apologize in English at Work? Tips for Professionals

Apologizing effectively in English is a critical skill to have in your professional life. Regardless of where you work or what you do for a living, you’re going to have to apologize at some point. It’s crucial to learn how to apologize in a professional manner. Using this opportunity to show your character and professionalism can be a great benefit.

We all have to apologize at some point, whether it’s to our coworkers, clients, or even our bosses. Apologizing isn’t fun, but it’s a necessary part of repairing and strengthening workplace relationship. When you need to apologize, here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Be sincere.
    Why apologize if you don’t really feel sorry for what you have done? Acknowledge your mistakes and accept consequences. Don’t use “but”, “however”, and “well” in your sentences.
  1. Say what you’re sorry for and be specific.
    Examples:
    “My actions were thoughtless and insensitive.”
    “It was wrong of me to ….”
    “I was wrong to ….”
  1. Avoid being defensive and making excuses.
  2. Empathize.
    Let the other person know that you understand what they’re going through. Use the following phrases to your advantage:
    “It must have been very frustrating to …”
    “I can understand how you would be upset.”
    “I would feel the same way if I were you.”
  1. Elucidate what you can change in years to come. What are your plans for dealing with the issue in the future? The following is the example of this kind of apology.
    I’m sorry for forgetting to return your book. I already planned to return it, but I forgot it when I left my home. I know that you really need the book as it is important for your upcoming course. I really understand that you are disappointed. In the future, I will make a reminder to make sure that it will not happen going forward.

The following are a variety of apologies for various situations. Practice them so that you know how to apologize perfectly in English.
Using the word “regret” instead of the word “apologize” or “sorry” in an email is a great choice for more formal situations.
You can use the following phrases:
“I regret…”
“I truly regret…”
“We sincerely regret…”
“I deeply regret…”

Example sentences:
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused by the delay.”
“I deeply regret the misunderstanding. “
“We regret that we are unable to give you a refund.”
“We sincerely regret the negative experience you had.”

Saying “I’m sorry” or “I apologize”
You can say:
“I’m very sorry.”
“I’m truly sorry.”
“I sincerely apologize.”

Make sure your apologies are grammatically correct:
1. Use “sorry for”  or “apologize for” + verb + ing

Example sentences:
“I am sorry for arriving late.”
“I’m sorry for taking so long to get back to you.”
“I’m sorry for not responding to your email sooner.”
“I sincerely apologize for forgetting to send you the report.”
2. Use “sorry”  or “apologize” + I + past tense verb
Example sentences:
“I’m sorry that I arrived late.”
“I’m sorry that it took so long to get back to you.”
“I sorry that I didn’t respond to your email sooner.”
“I apologize that I forgot to send you the report.”
3. Use “delay” + in + verb + ing
Example sentences
“I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you.”
“We’re sorry for the delay in processing your refund.”
4. Use “delayed” + noun
Example sentences
“I’m sorry for the delayed response.”
“I apologize for the delayed response to your request.”

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