Recents in Beach

How to express apologies, excuses, and thanks

This lesson aims to teach you how to express apologies, excuses and thanks.

How to express apologies, excuses, and thanks



Apologies (= saying sorry)



We can apologise (= say sorry) in different ways in different situations:
                               
(I'm) sorry. I beg your pardon (formal).
Situation : A general apology, e.g. you close the door in someone's face, interrupt someone, etc.

I'm very/terribly/so/awfully sorry.
Situation: A stronger apology, e.g. you step on someone's foot or take their coat by mistake.

I'm very/really sorry I'm late.  
Situation: When you are late for an appointment.

Sorry to keep you waiting. I won't be long. (= I will talk to you soon)
Situation: Someone is waiting to see you and you are busy, e.g. with someone else.

Note: In formal situations (especially in writing), we often use apologise and apology:

I must apologise for (being late).
I would like to apologise for (the delay. Unfortunately, ...).
Please accept our apologies for the mistakes in your order. We tried to ...


Excuses and promises


If the situation is quite important we usually add an explanation or excuse after the apology. An excuse is the reason for the apology, which may or may not be true. (If it is not true, it should still be a reason that people will believe.)

Here are some common excuses:

I'm sorry I'm late but I was delayed/held up at the airport.
I'm sorry I'm late, but my train was cancelled. (= the train was timetabled but did not run)

Note: To be/get delayed or be/get held up (in informal) both mean to be late because of a problem
that is out of your control.

If you are responsible for a problem, you can offer or promise to do something about it:

I'm sorry about the mess in here. I'll clear it up. (= I'll tidy it up)
I'm sorry about the confusion, but I'll sort it out. (= I will solve the problems)


Reassuring people


When people apologise to us, it is very common to say something to reassure them (= tell them that 'everything is OK'), and that we are not angry.

These are all common expressions:

A: I'm sorry I'm late.
B: That's OK. Don't worry. or Never mind. It doesn't matter. or That's OK. No problem.

Note that we often use two of them to emphasise the fact that ' it's OK '.

Thanks



These are the most common ways of thanking people in everyday situations:

A: Here's your pen.
B: Oh, thank you / thanks (very much).

A: I'll answer that.
B: Oh, thanks a lot (informal).

A: I'll post those letters for you.
B: Oh, thank you. That's very kind of you.

If you go to someone's house for dinner, or stay with people in an English-speaking country, you will need to thank them for their hospitality (= when people are kind and friendly towards their guests).

You could say something like this:

Thank you very much for inviting me. It's been a lovely evening.
Thank you very much for everything. You've been very kind.

Quiz


Test your knowledge now by passing this test from here:



Exercices


Complete these dialogues in a suitable way


1. A: I'm..............sorry.
    B: That's OK.

2. A: I'm sorry............late. I'm afraid I got ........ up.
    B: That's OK. No .................

3. A: Sorry to ................ you waiting.
    B: That's OK. Never...................

4. A: I'll carry your bags for you.
    B: Oh, thank you. That's very ................ of you.

5. A: I must...........for missing the meeting.
    B: That's OK. It doesn't................

6. A: I'm busy right now but I won't be .................
    B:  ............. mind. I'll come back later.

7. A: I..........your pardon.
    B: It's OK. Don't .................

8. A: I think the boss has got a real problem.
    B: Yes, but don't worry, he'll ................ it out.



What could you say in these situations? (If it is an apology, give an explanation/excuse if you think it is necessary.)


1. You get on a bus at the same time as another person and he/she almost falls over.
.....................................................................................................................................

2. You arrange to meet some friends in the centre of town but you are twenty minutes late.
.....................................................................................................................................

3. You are pushing your car into a side road and a stranger offers to help you.
.....................................................................................................................................

4. A friend borrows a pen from you and then loses it. Whos they apologise, you want to reassure them.
.....................................................................................................................................

5. Some English friends invite you to dinner. How could you thank them as you leave their house at the sod of the evening?
.....................................................................................................................................

6. A colleague at work tells you that a number of files are in a mess: papers are all in the wrong order and he doesn't know what to do. When he apologises to you for this mess, how can you reassure him, and what offer can you make?
.....................................................................................................................................

7. You are unable togs to a meeting you arranged with a client at their office, and now you must write to them to explain.
.....................................................................................................................................

8. Your company promised to send some information about new products to a customer last week. You still haven't sent the information and must now write to explain.
.....................................................................................................................................

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