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Published on: Vocabulary

All the Different Ways to Say “Excuse Me” in Spanish

Embarking on your Spanish language journey and want to ensure your apologies come across as polite? We’re here to guide you! The Spanish phrase equivalent to the English “Excuse me” is essential to sounding courteous and it takes on three variations. By using the best expression, you’ll not only appear more fluent but also more respectful.

But remember, like most common phrases, the same sentence can’t be applied universally without considering the context. How you say “Excuse me” greatly depends on the situation at hand. It differs whether you’re asking for someone’s attention, apologizing for accidentally bumping into someone, or addressing someone younger or older than you. The phrase translates differently in each case, and using the most commonly used expression might not always be suitable.

In this article, we delve into the myriad contexts where “Excuse me” is used and provide its Spanish translations. We’ll guide you through various formal and informal situations, explaining different expressions for each scenario. Whether you need to politely ask someone to move, or request additional time, these phrases will come in handy. Moreover, you’ll learn how to respond appropriately with phrases like “You’re Welcome” in Spanish.

We’ve curated this guide to cover all bases—from common phrases to the best expressions in a formal setting. So, whether you’re engaging in Spanish Conversation Classes or speaking casually with friends, these expressions will help you navigate every situation with ease. Let’s explore these 10 different ways to say “excuse me” in Spanish and enrich your Spanish-speaking skills.

1. Perdón

Perdón” is the most common way to say “excuse me” and is used for an apology. However, we only use it for small apologies. But, “perdón” can also be used in situations when we interrupt the other person’s activities and it still has an apology tone. Unlike “permiso”’, “perdón” is a bit more informal.

  • Perdón, ¿dónde está el baño? – Excuse me, where is the bathroom?
  • Perdón, ¿interrumpo algo? – Excuse me, am I interrupting something?
  • Perdón, quisiera pedirte algo. – Excuse me, I would like to ask you something.

Some regions use “excuse me” as a way of saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you, could you repeat?” and say it as a question. For example, you don’t understand what your friend said to you, so you say “¿perdón?”.

2. Perdone / Perdona

Also, there is a slightly more formal way to use “perdón” and that is “perdone” or “perdona”. They mean the same thing and can be used in the same way (both can be used for both men and women). It is used to address people with whom we want to ask permission but a little more formally, it can be with people we don’t know and we want to be polite.

  • Perdone, ¿nos podría tomar una foto? Excuse me, can you take a picture of us?
  • Perdone, ¿me podría traer el menú?Excuse me, could you bring me the menu?
  • Perdona, quería saber el precio de esta blusa. Sorry, I wanted to know the price of this blouse.

3. Perdóneme

“Perdóneme” comes from “perdón” but it is used more to ask for forgiveness formally. For example, if you made a mistake with something at work, you can say to your boss:

  • Perdóneme, no volverá a ocurrir. – Forgive me, it won’t happen again.
  • No sabía cómo se hacía, perdóneme.I didn’t know how it was done, forgive me.
  • Perdóneme, pero no conseguí el archivo que me pidió.Forgive me, but I did not find the file you asked for.

It could also be used to ask for permission, but the truth is that Spanish speakers rarely use it for this.

The way to say “excuse me” in Spanish can vary depending on the level of formality of the situation. Remember that “tú” is not the same as “usted” so learn to differentiate and use them with this guide.

4. Permiso

Another common expression used to say “excuse me” in Spanish is “permiso”. You can use it at any time, there will be no confusion about what you are saying. It is ideal in both colloquial and formal contexts, although, in reality, it has two uses.

The first use is to ask someone to move out of your way, for example, if you want to sit on the bus but a passenger is standing there who won’t allow you the space to get to your seat, you ask them to give you a space so you can pass by saying “permiso”.

  • Permiso, necesito sentarme. – Excuse me, I need to sit down.
  • Permiso, quisiera pasar. – Excuse me, I would like to come in.
  • ¿Me podría dar permiso para pasar? – May I have permission to come in?

The second use is more formal and is used when you want to interrupt a conversation without being rude. That is, two people are talking and you have to say something and you can’t wait any longer to say it, you can say “permiso” and it is understood that you are asking to speak. 

  • Permiso, quiero añadir algo sobre eso. – Excuse me, I would like to add something about that.
  • Permiso, me gustaría añadir que… – Excuse me, I would like to add that…

Permiso, pero no estoy de acuerdo con lo que dices. – Excuse me, but I don’t agree with what you say.

how do you say sorry in spanish
Image by Benzoix via Freepik

5. Con (su) permiso

The most formal way to use “permiso” is to say “con permiso” or “con su permiso”. They have the same meaning, it’s just a whole lot more formal, and you always say this when you want to go do something.

“Con” means “with” and “permiso” means “permission”, so you are asking permission from someone to do something.

For instance, consider a business setting in a Spanish-speaking environment. When you knock on the door of your boss’s office, you wouldn’t want to interrupt rudely. So, you’d say “con permiso” or “con su permiso”. This polite phraseology is just one example of the importance of understanding business etiquette in Spanish.

  • Con permiso, traje los documentos que me pidió. – Excuse me, I brought the documents you asked for.
  • Con su permiso, espero no interrumpir. – With your permission, I hope I am not interrupting.
  • Con permiso, disculpe que interrumpa pero lo están llamando del departamento de ventas.Excuse me, sorry to interrupt but you are being called by the sales department.

6. Disculpa

It can also be used as “excuse me” in spanish, and if you want to make it more formal you can use “disculpe” or “disculpeme”. You can use it as “excuse me” when trying to pass someone in a crowd or to interrupt someone for a question. You can also use it to apologize for something small.

  • Disculpa, no sabía que estabas utilizando este vaso.Excuse me, I didn’t know you were using this glass.
  • Disculpe, ¿me podría decir la hora?Excuse me, could you tell me the time?
  • Disculpa, pensaba que eras mi amiga, me he confundido.Sorry, I thought you were my friend, I got confused.

And if for some reason your answer to any of these ways of asking permission is “no”, Learn The Different Ways To Answer “No” In Spanish without sounding so rude!


7. Permítame

We use “permítame” when you want to excuse yourself and politely ask for permission. It has two uses. The first would be used in a formal setting when you need to excuse yourself. 

  • Permítame responder esta llamada, es de mi doctor. – Let me answer this call, it’s from my doctor.
  • Permítame salir un momento, acaba de llegar mi esposa.Let me go out for a moment, my wife has just arrived.
  • Permítame responder un mensaje, será rápido.Let me take a message, it will be quick.

The second is to ask permission in an overly formal manner from people to whom you owe the utmost respect and good manners.

  • Permítame servirle un poco de agua.Let me pour you some water.
  • Permítame recoger su abrigo.Let me take your coat.
  • Permítame brindarle una copa de vino, especialidad del restaurante.Let me offer you a glass of wine, a specialty of the restaurant.
pardon me in spanish
Image by Benzoix via Freepik

8. Lo siento

This expression is more closely related to forgiveness, since although the meaning of “lo siento” if we translate it directly is “I feel it”, it does not mean this. Literally, “lo siento” means “I’m sorry”, which is an appreciated way of apologizing.

  • Lo siento, no quería que lo interpretaras así. – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for you to interpret it that way.

“I’m sorry” can also be interpreted as an empathetic feeling of another person’s pain or embarrassment, whether it is your fault or not. And it is formulated with “siento” + “que” or you can even add “mucho” to make it more empathetic.

  • Siento mucho que hayas perdido a tu padre tan joven. – I’m so sorry you lost your father so young.

9. Lo lamento

This expression is also more closely related to forgiveness since it means “I regret it”, but it is used in the same way as “lo siento”. The meaning of the expression does not change and it is also used to be empathetic to someone else.

  • Lo lamento, pensé que sí querías eso.I’m sorry, I thought you did want that.
  • Lamento mucho lo que te pasó.I’m so sorry for what happened to you.

“Lo siento” and “Lo lamento” are more directed ways of forgiveness. If you want to learn more about how to ask for forgiveness in Spanish, learn The Most Common Ways To Say Sorry In Spanish.

10. Espere

It is not a translation of “excuse me” but is used in a context where “excuse me” could also be used. It is a polite way of asking for a few minutes to be able to give you an answer or perform an action. Its direct translation would be “wait” but, “wait” (with “e” at the end) makes it formal. It is not the same to tell a customer “wait” (informal) as “wait” (formal). “Wait” is very abrupt and disrespectful when dealing with customers or people you should treat with respect.

  • Espere un momento en línea, por favor. – Please hold the line for a moment.
  • Espere mientras ingreso sus datos. – Please wait while I enter your data.
  • Espere unos minutos mientras me traen el producto, por favor. – Please wait a few minutes while the product is brought to me.
how to say excuse me in spanish
Image by Benzoix via Freepik

Improve Your Spanish Language Starting Today

Mastering various ways to say “excuse me” in Spanish is a crucial stepping stone in your linguistic journey. It’s not only one word but also a common phrase that significantly boosts your vocabulary.

Fluency in the Spanish language doesn’t just open up avenues for new friendships, travels, and job opportunities—it also sharpens your cognitive abilities. With SpanishVIP, immerse yourself in genuine Spanish dialogues. Sign up for a free 1:1 lesson or a 7-day trial of group lessons and let our native-speaking professional teachers guide you to comfort in Spanish conversation.

Whether it’s a formal sentence or a casual remark, there’s a polite way to say “excuse me” in Spanish. The expressions depend on the context—whether it’s an informal setting, or requires some extra words for courtesy. With our help, you’ll be able to talk and navigate your way through various situations.

Become adept at using “excuse me” in Spanish, understand its literal translation, and identify the best phrase for every occasion. Join us and discover why SpanishVIP’s methodology is trusted by thousands worldwide in their quest to speak Spanish like a native.

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