Ways To Say Sorry In German

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you planning a trip to Germany and want to ensure you can navigate any situation with grace and politeness? One essential skill to have in your language arsenal is the ability to apologize in German.

Whether you accidentally bump into someone on a crowded street or unintentionally offend a colleague, knowing how to say sorry in the appropriate context can go a long way in maintaining positive relationships.

In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on the various ways to say sorry in German. From basic apologies to formal situations, business settings, and social interactions, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive in and discover the diverse range of expressions you can use to convey regret and sincerity in the German language.

Basic Apologies in German

Want to learn how to say sorry in German? Let’s start with some basic apologies!

When you make a mistake, you can say ‘Entschuldigung,’ which means ‘excuse me’ or ‘I’m sorry.’

If you want to apologize for something more specific, you can say ‘Es tut mir leid,’ which translates to ‘I’m sorry.’

These phrases are commonly used in everyday conversations and will help you express your apologies in German.

Apologizing for Accidents or Mistakes

When you accidentally spill your drink on someone, you can quickly express your remorse by saying ‘Ich hab’s nicht gewollt.’ This phrase translates to ‘I didn’t mean to.’

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It’s important to apologize sincerely and take responsibility for your actions. Offer to help clean up the mess or replace the item if necessary. Remember, accidents happen, but showing genuine remorse and offering assistance can go a long way in making amends.

Saying Sorry in Formal Situations

In formal situations, you can convey your apologies by using polite language and gestures to show respect and remorse. When apologizing formally in German, it’s important to use the correct phrases and tone.

You can say ‘Es tut mir leid’ which translates to ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘Entschuldigen Sie bitte’ which means ‘Please excuse me.’ Additionally, a formal bow or a sincere handshake can also help convey your sincerity and regret.

Apologizing for Offenses or Insults

Improve your apologies for offenses or insults by using appropriate language and gestures to convey sincerity and remorse.

When apologizing in formal situations in German, it’s important to acknowledge your mistake and take responsibility for it. Use phrases like "Es tut mir leid" (I’m sorry) or "Verzeihen Sie mir" (Please forgive me) to express your remorse.

Additionally, maintain eye contact, speak in a calm and respectful tone, and offer a small gesture of goodwill to help convey your sincerity.

Expressing Regret and Sincere Apologies

Expressing regret and sincere apologies can be done effectively by using appropriate language and gestures to convey genuine remorse and sincerity.

When apologizing in German, it’s important to choose the right words to express your regret. Saying "Es tut mir leid" (I’m sorry) is a common and straightforward way to apologize.

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Additionally, you can express deeper regret by saying "Ich entschuldige mich aufrichtig" (I sincerely apologize).

Remember to maintain eye contact and use a sincere tone to convey your genuine remorse.

Apologizing for Being Late or Canceling Plans

When you’re tardy or have to cancel plans, offering a heartfelt apology can help mend any hurt feelings or disappointment caused. In German, you can say "Es tut mir leid, dass ich zu spät komme" (I’m sorry for being late) or "Es tut mir leid, dass ich die Pläne absagen muss" (I’m sorry for canceling the plans).

It’s important to express genuine remorse and explain the reason for your lateness or cancellation to show sincerity and respect for the other person’s time and effort.

Apologizing for Inconveniences or Troubles

Dealing with inconveniences or troubles can be frustrating, but don’t worry, there are ways to make amends and show understanding for the inconvenience caused.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have inconvenienced someone, you can apologize by saying "I’m sorry." It’s important to show genuine remorse and offer to make things right.

Remember, a sincere apology goes a long way in repairing relationships.

Apologizing in Casual Conversations

If you happen to inconvenience someone in a casual conversation, you can demonstrate understanding and offer a sincere apology to mend the situation.

It’s important to acknowledge your mistake and show empathy towards the other person. You can say ‘Entschuldigung’ or ‘Sorry’ to express your regret. Additionally, you can add ‘Es tut mir leid’ to convey a more sincere apology.

Remember, being respectful and genuine in your apology can go a long way in resolving any misunderstandings or discomfort caused.

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Apologizing in Business or Professional Settings

In business or professional settings, it’s essential to acknowledge your mistakes and offer a sincere apology to maintain a positive working relationship and resolve any issues that may arise.

When apologizing in these settings, it’s important to be professional, concise, and genuine.

Start by directly addressing the person or group you’re apologizing to and express your regret for the mistake or inconvenience caused.

Take responsibility for your actions and offer a solution or plan to rectify the situation.

Remember, a sincere apology can go a long way in maintaining trust and professionalism in the workplace.

Apologizing in Social Interactions and Etiquette

When it comes to social interactions and etiquette, you’ll discover the power of a sincere apology in fostering understanding and harmony within your relationships. Saying sorry in German can be a valuable tool in maintaining good social etiquette.

Whether you accidentally bump into someone on the street or unintentionally offend someone at a social gathering, knowing how to apologize in German can help you smooth out any awkward situations and show respect for the people around you.


In conclusion, knowing how to say sorry in German is an essential skill for effective communication. Whether you’re apologizing for a mistake, expressing regret, or seeking forgiveness, understanding the appropriate phrases and expressions can go a long way in building relationships and resolving conflicts.

From formal situations to casual conversations, being able to apologize in German shows respect and understanding of the language and culture. So next time you find yourself in a situation where an apology is needed, remember these different ways to say sorry in German and make a sincere and heartfelt apology.