One of the first things you need to know whenever you travel somewhere is how to say “sorry” in the native language.
Think about all the times this is necessary: bumping into someone, asking for their attention, expressing condolences, and in tons of different expressions, you always need to say “I’m sorry”.
When it comes to the Spanish language, there are lots of different ways to apologize. In fact, there are many different ways to say sorry in Spanish that native speakers use daily.
And just like in English, native Spanish speakers will say “sorry” in many ways and in specific contexts.
You might need to say “I’m sorry” for something you did or maybe you just want to let someone know that you feel bad about something happening.
That’s why today, you’re getting a lesson in humility. You’ll learn the three most common ways to say sorry in Spanish, so you’ll be prepared for anything.
You probably already know this one. Lo siento means “I feel it”. This can be used both when you want to apologize for something bad you’ve done or for when something bad happens to someone else.
This is one of the most common ways to say sorry in Spanish. However, it’s important to note that you wouldn’t say this for something really little.
For example, if you just accidentally bumped into someone, you wouldn’t say “lo siento”, although if you bumped into someone and that caused them to drop and shatter their brand new iPhone, you could say lo siento.
You can also add modifiers to lo siento to make the apology stronger. You can say “lo siento mucho” or “lo siento muchísimo” to make the apology stronger. Here are some examples:
- Lo siento, no lo volveré a hacer. – I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.
- Me dijeron que se inundó tu casa, lo siento mucho. – They told me your house got flooded, I’m so sorry.
You can take away the lo, then add something afterward to specify what you’re sorry about. It can have the same meaning as lo siento, but this way you’re more specific.
Doing it this way just adds more information to the sentence and it can be helpful if you want to bring up the topic. For example:
- Siento mucho lo de tu padre. – I’m so sorry to hear about your father. **
- Siento mucho que no te hayan dado el trabajo. – I’m so sorry they didn’t give you the job.
- Siento que tengas que irte tan pronto. – I’m sorry you have to leave so early.
Siento mucho el retraso. – I’m so sorry for the delay.
** The lo here can reference a general idea, so you can use lo to represent “the situation with” or “that thing about”. Check this link to know more about how to use Lo in Spanish.
It’s important to notice that “siento que” introduces a subjunctive mood, so make sure you pay attention to that!
Siento + infinitivo
Finally, it’s really common to apologize with siento + infinitivo. This is an easy way to say sorry for something specific:
- Siento llegar tarde. – Sorry for getting here late.
- Siento decírtelo así. – Sorry for telling you this way
Perdón is most likely the most common way to apologize in Spanish. You can use it in many of the same ways that you can say lo siento, but it’s typically used for more minor incidents. It comes from the verb perdonar, which means to forgive.
You’ll use this whenever you want to say sorry in Spanish for something that’s not too serious. Here are some examples:
- Perdón, no te había visto. – Sorry, I didn’t see you there.
- Perdón por no llegar antes. – Sorry for not getting here earlier.
- Perdón, ¿me puedes decir dónde está la pasta de dientes? – Sorry, could you tell me where the toothpaste is?
As you can see, it can be used in many everyday situations. So for anyone who wants to learn Spanish, this is one of the most important words you can use in your daily life.
If you ever go through a crowded area and accidentally bump into someone, you might quickly say this before walking away.
You can use perdone in almost all the same contexts as perdón, the only difference is that you are using the usted form of the verb. So when you need to show more respect, especially with native speakers from the Americas, it’s important to use perdone instead.
- Perdone, ¿me puede indicar cómo se llega al centro? – Sorry, could you tell me how to get to the city center?
Perdona is another form of the verb perdonar and it’s used interchangeably with perdón. If you want to be technical, perdón is an interjection and perdona is the tú command of the verb. But for all intents and purposes, you use them both to say sorry in Spanish.
The final, most common way to tell someone you’re sorry in Spanish is with the verb disculpar. You can consider it very similar to the verb perdonar, but it is slightly more common to hear when you want to get someone’s attention.
Here are some examples:
- Disculpa, ¿tienes hora? – Sorry, do you have the time?
- No te había oído, disculpa. – I didn’t hear you, sorry.
As you can tell by now, most of these words don’t only mean “sorry”, you can also use them as the Spanish equivalent to “excuse me”.
Just like with the verb perdonar, you can use the verb disculpar in the usted form, as well. Again, this is used to show more respect to the listener and is very common in Latin America.
- Disculpe que le interrumpa… – Sorry for interrupting you…
Discuple + noun
Just like with siento, you can use disculpar with a noun if you would like to specify exactly what you’re apologizing for.
- Disculpen las molestias. – Sorry for the inconvenience.
This is really common to see on a sign or in an email. For example, if a city is doing construction work, you might see this sign out in the street.
How to Properly Offer Condolences in Spanish
Firstly, we hope that you’d never need to use this, at least not soon, but there might be a moment when a friend’s relative or pet passes away. It is a time when you need to know how to express condolences in Spanish, and it’s important to know how to do it right since this is a very sensitive situation.
In this section, we’ll cover common phrases to express your condolences to the family or friend who has lost a loved one.
Mis condolencias is one of the most common and formal ways to offer your condolences In Spanish. You can use this expression in any case, except when pets go to a better place. You can also use “Mis más sinceras condolencias”, which is the Spanish equivalent of “my deepest condolences”.
- Nuestras más sinceras condolencias por la pérdida de su esposo. – Our deepest condolences for the loss of your husband.
- Amigo, mis más sinceras condolencias. Te mando un fuerte abrazo. – Buddy, my deepest condolences. I send you a big hug.
- Dale mis condolencias a tu mamá, por favor. – Please, give my condolences to your mom.
Mi sentido pésame
This is another common expression to offer condolences to a friend, it means exactly “My condolences”, you can also say “mi más sentido pésame” as a way to give someone your deepest condolences.
- Quiero darte mi más sentido pésame. – I want to give you my deepest condolences.
- Mi sentido pésame por la perdida de tu abuelo, amigo. – My condolences for the loss of your grandfather, friend.
- Quiero darte mi sincero pésame. – I want to give you my sincere condolences.
The verb lamentar means “to mourn”. You would use this verb when you want to express your deep condolences to someone. For example:
- Lamento muchísimo que haya fallecido tu madre. – I’m so sorry that your mother has passed away.
- Me dijeron lo de tu padre, lo lamento mucho. – They told me about your father, my condolences.
- Lamento su perdida. – I’m sorry for your loss.
You can also use the verb lamentar as a way to say sorry in Spanish, You can use it in a situation when someone loses something and there’s nothing that you can do to get it back.
- Lamento que no hayas podido encontrar tu teléfono. – I’m sorry you couldn’t find your phone.
- Lo lamento profundamente, pero no romperé la promesa que le hice a mi hermana. – I am deeply sorry, but I will not break the promise I made to my sister.
Siento la pérdida de…
You can use this expression for any kind of loss, friends, family, or pets of your friends, it basically means “I’m sorry for your loss of…” you just have to complete the phrase with the person or pet who passed away.
- Siento la pérdida te tu hermano.
- Siento mucho la perdida de Carmen.
- Siento la perdida de tu perrito Rufus.
Other Comforting Phrases to Condolences in Spanish
|Espero que puedas superar este momento de duelo.||I hope you can overcome this moment of mourning.|
|Tienes todo mi apoyo en este momento.||You have my full support at this time.|
|Te acompaño en el inmenso dolor que supone la pérdida de tu padre.||I accompany you in the immense pain of losing your father.|
|Ella siempre va a estar con nosotros, en nuestra memoria y en el corazón.||She will always be with us, in our memory and in our hearts.|
|Entiendo por lo que estás pasando.||I know what you are going through.|
|Comparto tu dolor por el fallecimiento de tu amiga, era una gran persona.||I share your pain for the death of your friend, she was a great person.|
|Te acompaño en el sentimiento.||I accompany you in the feeling.|
|Solo pido a Dios que te dé fortaleza para sobrellevar esta pérdida…||I just ask God to give you the strength to cope with this loss…|
Other respectful ways to apologize in Spanish
Now, the previous three expressions are the most common ways you’ll apologize in Spanish, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the only ways you can apologize.
Some specific regions have different ways to use a catch-all term for sorry. Also, sometimes you need to express remorse or something deeper.
So here are a few other possibilities you may hear:
This is translated to “with permission” in English and it’s a great way to say “excuse me”, especially when you need to get by someone. In some countries, you’ll hear guests say this before entering someone’s home.
Finally, arrepentirse is to regret. So you don’t necessarily need to be apologizing to use this verb, but it can be used that way. You would use this verb anytime you want to talk about how you regret something or wish it didn’t happen. Just remember that it always needs “se” to go with it.
Me arrepiento habértelo dicho. – I regret saying that to you.
If you’d like some extra help on why we need to include “se” here, feel free to check out our guide on Reflexive Verbs in Spanish.
Using Interjections in Spanish to express apologies
Finally, there are a couple of extra words you can use when apologizing. These are mostly in-the-moment words that you add to a sentence. Interjections are things like “oh!” or “oh my god!”. Any tiny words or sounds that you use in a specific context.
Here are two ways that you can use to sound more natural in your apologies.
Typically you add “ay” to the beginning of a sentence. This implies a surprise or something you weren’t expecting.
- Ay, perdón, no sabía que estabas allí. – Oh, sorry! I didn’t know you were there.
This is one of the most common interjections you’ll ever hear. Sometimes you might notice people saying this anytime something surprising happens, but it’s relevant in this situation to have a natural apology.
Especially since interjections are something that native speakers use naturally, learning the proper context for these guys adds an extra level to your speaking skills in a new language, and in this case, it really helps with making your apologies sound authentic.
This is an interjection that you use at the end of a sentence to make something a little more heartfelt, but in a casual situation. It’s like saying, “for real” or “I mean it”. In the end, it just makes the apology a bit more meaningful.
- Perdona, ¿eh? – I’m so sorry.
You’re most likely to use this with the verb perdonar. It’s a simple way to make sure that the other person knows you actually mean what you’re saying, and you’re not just saying it because you feel obligated to do so.
Sorry, it’s over
Hopefully you don’t need to apologize for any more than what this list goes through. You should be ready to say sorry for any kind of unexpected event in the future, now.
Whether you just bump into someone walking through some crowded streets in a Spanish-speaking country or one of your friends told you some bad news, you should be able to handle any of those situations.
No one wants to spend too much time apologizing, but you can always use some of these examples if you ever accidentally show up late to your next Spanish class. And speaking of, go ahead and sign up for a free private class or a 7-day free trial of our group classes so you can practice what you learned.
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