Five Phrases to Apologize: Formal and Informal Phrases

Sometimes you do something you shouldn’t. In English, there are a lot of phrases you can you to apologize to someone. Some are more formal, and some are very casual. Let’s take a look at phrases that you can use to apologize.

With each phrase, I’ll include an example sentence and a rating of when it is appropriate to use.

I’m sorry/Sorry.

I’m sorry is the most common and can be used in formal or informal situations.

Example: I’m sorry I was late to work this morning.

Sorry is more informal and casual, although it is accepted in the workplace.

Example: Sorry I didn’t call last night. I fell asleep.


I apologize.

This phrase is more formal and sounds more sincere.

Example: I didn’t mean to wreck the car. I apologize.

Example: I apologize for forgetting your birthday.


My bad.

Very casual phrase. Use only with insignificant things and close friends.

Example: Person 1: You forgot to bring chips.  Person 2: My bad.

This phrase is followed by casual terms of endearment in friendship such as bro or dude.

Example: My bad, bro./ My bad, dude.


It’s my fault./My fault.

Similar to my bad, but a little more formal.

Example: It’s my fault Brad lost the report.


I was wrong.

A simple and easy phrase. Can be used in any situation.

Example: I was wrong for thinking you couldn’t handle the job.


You can also customize apologies like “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” by adding adverbs such as so, sincerely, really, or very to the phrase: “I’m so sorry”, “I sincerely apologize.”


If you have any questions or would like to practice English with a native speaker, contact me for more information.


What are some phrases you use to apologize? Comment below or on the Facebook page.