Sorry in German

Learn how to say sorry in German as well as excuse me in this easy-to-follow online German lesson. Furthermore, towards the end of the lesson you'll learn other important German pleasantries, such as 'That's kind of you' and 'You shouldn't have.'

Sorry in German

Right, let's jump right in.

There are two words to say sorry:  'Entschuldigung' and 'Es tut mir leid'. (Please note 'Entschuldigung' is also used to say 'excuse me'.)

In order to fully understand these words, please see below for some simple examples of when and how to use them:

Entschuldigung / Entschuldigen Sie - These two expressions can be used for both 'sorry' and 'excuse me'
('Entschuldigen Sie' is more formal)

Entschuldigung, ich war das - Sorry it was me that did that

Entschuldigen Sie bitte, darf ich vorbei? (Formal) - Excuse me please, may I get past?

Entschuldigen Sie bitte, wo sind die Toiletten? (Formal) - Excuse me please, where are the toilets?

In cases where you want to express your sorrow, you should use 'Es tut mir leid'.

For example:

Es tut mir leid, dass Ihre/ Deine Großmutter gestorben ist - I am sorry to hear your grandmother has died
(Formal= Ihre / Informal= Deine)

Additional German pleasantries

In addition to the above phrases, I would also recommend you learn the following polite phrases in German.

OK, let's get started: 

Machen Sie sich keine Sorgen - Don't worry
(Used if someone apologises to you. Formal)

Mach Dir keine Sorgen - Don't worry

(Used if someone apologises to you. Informal)

Das macht nichts - That's OK
(Used if someone apologises to you)

Das ist sehr nett von Ihnen/lieb von Dir - That is very kind of you
(Formal = Ihnen / Informal = Dir) 

Das bedeutet mir viel - That means a lot to me

Das hätten Sie nicht machen sollen - You shouldn't have

Das hättest Du nicht machen sollen - You shouldn't have

Kann ich Ihnen helfen? - May I help you?

Kann ich Dir helfen? - Can I help you?

Now you have completed this lesson why not take a look at my German Business Phrases section? Here you will find ready-made phrases for emails, letters, telephone calls as well as meetings and presentations. A must-read for you if you need to speak German for business reasons.

By the way, in my efforts to best help you speak German easily and effortlessly, I've teamed up with the Rocket German Learning System.

You can click here to learn more about their program and how they can be of service to you.

It's an interesting system for learning German in that the focus is to help you engage in meaningful conversation within a short period of time.

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Business German phrases for use in emails and letters as well as for presentations, meetings and phone calls. 

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