ਸੈਸ਼ਨ 4

For many people 'sorry' is the hardest word to say. But it needn't be - with our guide!

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    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1

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Saying sorry

We all make mistakes, so saying sorry is very important. In this How do you… programme, we look at ways of apologising.

Being polite people, the British do say sorry quite a lot.

  • I'm sorry, have you got the time?
  • I'm sorry, do you know where Turnpike Lane Tube station is?

But the sorry in these two examples mean something closer to excuse me. In the programme we look at a few situations where people really do mean sorry, and the different ways the word is used.

ਆਡੀਓ ਸੁਣੋ ਤੇ ਕੰਮ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰੋ

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Finn
Hi this is Finn, with another guide to real, spoken English. This time, how to say sorry. Now, we all make mistakes, but how we say sorry is very important.

Now, being polite people, the British do say sorry quite a lot. I'm sorry, have you got the time? I'm sorry – do you know where Oxford Circus station is? But those are more like saying excuse me. 'I'm sorry, have you got the time?' is like: 'Excuse me, have you got the time?'

Now, let's look at a few situations where people really do mean sorry, and the different ways the word is used.

Rob and Neil are going to apologise to each other quite a lot in these examples.

So, first, Neil apologises to Rob. They've agreed to meet at a cafe. What does Neil say?

Neil
Hi Rob, sorry I'm late. The train was supposed to get here 30 minutes ago. But you know how it is… horrible delays, I'm afraid.

Rob
Oh that's ok.

Finn
Sorry I'm late
. Now that might be the most common apology you'll hear in English! Sorry I'm late! You could also use this pattern sorry I'm… to say other things like sorry I'm slow, or sorry I'm not very good at this.

Hmm... right. Now's it's Rob's turn to apologise to Neil. Rob has borrowed Neil's bike – but something bad happened. What was it?

Rob
Neil, I've got something to tell you. You know how you lent me your bike?

Neil
Uh huh...

Rob
Well, I don't have it. It was stolen. And I'm really sorry.

Neil
Right.

Rob
I'm so sorry about this
.

Neil
Rob, you're an idiot.

Finn
The bike was stolen. And Neil sounds a bit angry. And did you notice how Rob apologised? Well first, he prepared Neil for the apology by saying:

Rob
Neil, I've got something to tell you.

Finn
Now, when someone hears this, they know something serious is coming next. So, next, the apology itself. And this was just a simple sentence.

Rob
I'm really sorry.

Finn
I'm really sorry
. You could also say I'm so sorry. Or just, I'm sorry. Or just sorry.

Rob
Well, I don't have it. It was stolen. And I'm really sorry.

Neil
Right.

Rob
I'm so sorry about this
.

Finn
I'm so sorry about this. In English, you often say you're sorry 'about' something – listen to these…

I'm sorry about the flowers.
I'm sorry about the cake. I cooked it for too long.
I'm sorry about the mess on the floor.

Right, we're almost there – but remember Neil called Rob an idiot? Well, Neil feels bad. It's Neil's turn to apologise to Rob. How does he do it?

Neil
Ah... Rob. I really want to apologise for what I said earlier.

Finn
So Neil said: "I want to apologise for what I said". Lots of people do this in English. It's a way of saying sorry, without using the word 'sorry'. I want to apologise for being late, I want to apologise for the mess on the floor.

But Neil actually did say sorry afterwards. He said:

Neil
I'm really sorry for calling you an idiot.

Finn
Sorry for calling you an idiot. Now, sorry for… can be followed by a verb in the –ing form, like Neil used it there: "Sorry for calling you an idiot". Or it can be followed by a noun. Listen to these:

Sorry for making you late.
Sorry for the mess on the floor.

So there we go – lots of different ways to say sorry:

I'm sorry
I'm really sorry

I'm so sorry

sorry about something

sorry for something

and I want to apologise for something.

And there we are. I'm really sorry but I have to go now. Bye.

Here's the whole conversation of Neil and Rob again:

Neil 
Hi Rob, sorry I'm late. The train was supposed to get here 30 minutes ago. But you know how it is… horrible delays, I'm afraid.

Rob 
Oh that's ok. Neil, I've got something to tell you. You know how you lent me your bike? Well, I don't have it. It was stolen. And I'm really sorry.

Neil
Right.

Rob
I'm so sorry about this
.

Neil
Rob, you're an idiot...
Rob. I really want to apologise for what I said earlier. I'm really sorry for calling you an idiot.

 

Downloads

You can download the programme and transcript from our Unit 19 Downloads page.

To do

Listen to the programme, as Finn talks about different ways of saying sorry. After listening, try the quiz to see if you can apologise correctly! After that, we'll have a summary.

Sorry about these sentences

5 Questions

There are five apologies, but the words are in the wrong order. We need your help with these apologies, sorry!

ਵਧਾਈ ਹੋਵੇ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕੁਇਜ਼ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹਾਸਲ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਅੰਕ:
x / y

Summary

So what were the different ways of saying sorry in the programme?

1) The simple ones. These are just statements on their own:

  • Sorry.
  • I'm sorry.
  • I'm so sorry.
  • I'm really sorry.

2) The classic one: Sorry I'm late.

3) Sorry about (something).

  • Sorry about this
  • Sorry about the damage to your bike

4) Sorry for (doing something). Normally this is followed by a verb in the -ing form.

  • Sorry for losing your bike
  • Sorry for being so smelly

5) Saying sorry without saying sorry – I apologise for...

  • I apologise for calling you an idiot. It wasn't very nice.

End of Session 4

Hope you enjoyed learning about these simple ways to apologize.

In Session 5 we have Part 9 of our drama, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Session Vocabulary

  • 1) The simple ones:

    Sorry.
    I'm sorry.
    I'm so sorry.
    I'm really sorry.

    2) The classic one:

    Sorry I'm late.

    3) Sorry about (something):

    Sorry about this
    Sorry about the damage to your bike

    4) Sorry for (doing something). Followed by a verb in the -ing form:

    Sorry for losing your bike
    Sorry for being so smelly

    5) Saying sorry without saying sorry – I apologise for...

    I apologise for calling you an idiot. It wasn't very nice.