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How to 'Apologise'

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I have come to realise that, in life, it’s the tiniest things that can drive me crazy and send me hurtling into a half-hour violent rant while the bigger things don’t really bother me all that much.

The way I see it, if the earth were to wobble off its axis and plummet into the sun, causing a massive explosion which would in turn destroy the entire universe in the space of a few seconds, it would only kill me once. On the other hand, the fifteen minutes between me misplacing my car keys and me eventually finding them in my pocket will set me off on a rampage  of cursing and banging things about in a fit of such violent frustration that the whole ‘earth-sun-destruction of the universe’ scenario might seem like a picnic by comparison.

The other day I misplaced my car keys, and I blamed my wife for “never leaving my stuff where I put it!” and “always doing things like this!” Quarter of an hour and much stomping around the house and raised voices later, I found them in my pocket.

So I had to apologise.

I think that apologising is one of the hardest things that anyone has to do, in any language and no matter who the person concerned is. Most people’s apologies very quickly become excuses, and eventually switch from ‘I’m sorry for what I did’ to ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’, which is not really an apology but a veiled accusation. Other people just don’t apologise, and try to pretend that nothing actually happened, which is worse. An apology has to be made, because if you don’t say you’re sorry when you should, it sort of means that it wasn’t that big a deal to you, and you don’t really care. So, how should it be done?

“I’m so sorry” is always a good way to start, but personally I prefer the phrase “I apologise”. ‘Apologise’ is a verb, and therefore adds a lot more to what you’re saying, whereas ‘sorry’ is just telling the person how you feel. But that’s just me.

Here, then, are some other expressions that may help to get you out of the hole you dug for yourself...



  • Please accept my (humblest) apology... 
  • I was wrong.
  • I shouldn’t have said that.
  • My comments to you were ill-advised.
  • I made a stupid mistake...
  • I’m genuinely sorry.
  • There is no excuse for my behaviour.
  • It was not my intention to... I’m terribly sorry.


And remember, the key to a successful apology is sincerity! If you don’t really mean it, then don’t say it. Right, now I’m heading out. Where did I leave my keys? They were here a minute ago...

By Danny


When was the last time you had to apologise? Tell us about it. Add your comments below!