20 Ways to Say Sorry in Spanish That Aren’t Just “Lo Siento”
Learning to say sorry is one of the necessities in learning any language, and Spanish is no different.
Whether it’s expressing remorse for something you did, asking for forgiveness for slipping past someone on the street or asking for someone’s attention, apologizing is certainly something you should know how to do.
This post will take you through 20 ways that you can apologize in Spanish as well as how to respond when you are apologized to.
- How to Say Sorry in Spanish
- 1. Lo siento — I’m sorry
- 2. Perdona — Forgive me
- 3. Perdón — Sorry, excuse me
- 4. Disculpa — Excuse me
- 5. Te / le pido disculpas — I ask for your pardon, I apologize
- 6. Mil disculpas — My apologies
- 7. Me arrepiento — I regret
- 8. Lamento — I’m sorry
- 9. Me equivoqué — I was wrong
- 10. Fue mi error — It was my mistake
- 11. No te imaginas cuánto siento / lamento — You can’t imagine how sorry I am
- 12. Te ruego que me perdones — I beg you to forgive me
- 13. Te compadezco — I feel sorry for you
- 14. Mi más sentido pésame — My deepest condolences
- 15. Es una lástima — It’s a pity, it’s a shame
- 16. Con permiso — Excuse me
- Verbs to Say “Sorry” in Spanish
- Responses to an Apology
- Apologies in Spanish vs. English
How to Say Sorry in Spanish
1. Lo siento — I’m sorry
Context: To ask for forgiveness, express remorse or to express sympathy
This is probably the most commonly used expression for asking for forgiveness and making other people feel we understand what they are going through.
There are many different forms of lo siento:
Lo siento. No lo volveré a hacer. (I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.)
Lo siento mucho. Por favor, no te vayas. (I’m very sorry. Please, don’t go.)
Siento mucho lo de tu padre. (I’m very sorry about your father.)
Siento mucho que tengas que irte. (I’m very sorry you have to go.)
Siento el ruido. (Sorry for the noise.)
2. Perdona — Forgive me
Context: To apologize for something minor, to get someone’s attention or to show you didn’t hear/understand something
You can also use perdone for more formal situations:
Perdona por llegar tarde. (Sorry for being late.)
Perdone, ¿sabe dónde está la calle Málaga? (Excuse me, do you know where Málaga Street is?)
3. Perdón — Sorry, excuse me
Context: To apologize for small inconveniences or something that’s not a big deal
Perdón is similar to perdona, but perdón is slightly less formal.
It can also be used to say “excuse me.”
¡Perdón! Fue un accidente. (Sorry! It was an accident.)
Perdón, no entendí lo que dijiste. (Sorry, I didn’t understand what you said.)
4. Disculpa — Excuse me
Context: To apologize for something or to attract someone’s attention
Disculpa can be used in an informal or formal situation (disculpe is the formal version).
Disculpa, no te había oído. (Sorry, I hadn’t heard you.)
Disculpe, no sabía que estaba esperando. (I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were waiting.)
Disculpe, ¿sabe dónde está el banco? (Excuse me, do you know where the bank is?)
5. Te / le pido disculpas — I ask for your pardon, I apologize
Context: To apologize or ask for forgiveness in a more formal way
Disculpa(s) is a versatile word and can be used to mean different things. You can also say Te/le debo disculpas to mean “I owe you an apology.”
Te pido disculpas por lo que te dije ayer. (I apologize for what I said yesterday.)
6. Mil disculpas — My apologies
Context: To apologize for something with a bit more force
This phrase literally means “a thousand apologies.” While it sounds super formal, it’s commonly used in a variety of situations in both casual and formal environments.
Mil disculpas, no quise molestarte. (My apologies, I didn’t mean to bother you.)
Mil disculpas, señorita, pero su habitación aún no está lista. (My apologies, ma’am, but your room isn’t ready yet.)
7. Me arrepiento — I regret
Context: To express regret
This is used to say that you regret what you have done. It’s a reflexive verb and you usually use it in the first person singular and plural:
Me arrepiento de lo que he hecho. (I regret what I’ve done.)
Nos arrepentimos de decir eso. (We regret saying that.)
8. Lamento — I’m sorry
Context: To express remorse, sympathy and condolences
This is used similarly to lo siento, and is used to offer apologies or condolences:
Lamento muchísimo lo ocurrido. (I’m sorry for what’s happened.)
Lamento la pérdida de tu hermana. (I’m sorry for the loss of your sister.)
9. Me equivoqué — I was wrong
Context: To admit to making a mistake
Equivocarse is a reflexive verb meaning “to make a mistake.” So if you say Me equivoqué, you’re admitting that you made a mistake and were in the wrong.
It’s often followed by al to say what mistake you made.
Me equivoqué al decir esas palabras hirientes. (I was wrong to say those hurtful words.)
Me equivoqué al no responder a tu mensaje a tiempo. (I made a mistake by not responding to your message on time.)
10. Fue mi error — It was my mistake
Context: To admit to committing an error or making a mistake
This phrase is similar to the one above. You may want to precede or follow it with another form of saying sorry, as it’s not really a complete apology.
Fue mi error no haber revisado el documento antes de enviarlo. (It was my mistake not to have reviewed the document before sending it.)
Fue mi error no haber valorado tu amistad, y lamento profundamente haber perdido nuestra conexión. (It was my mistake not to have valued your friendship, and I’m deeply sorry to have lost our connection.)
11. No te imaginas cuánto siento / lamento — You can’t imagine how sorry I am
Context: To express sympathy or to offer a serious, sincere apology
This phrase is reserved for serious situations and is a bit too dramatic for a casual apology. You can also say No sabes cuánto siento / lamento… (You don’t know how sorry I am).
12. Te ruego que me perdones — I beg you to forgive me
Context: To express desperation for forgiveness
You’d only use this phrase if you’ve done something really, seriously wrong and are desperate to be forgiven. Notice that the verb perdonarse is in the subjunctive form as it’s something the speaker is begging for and it isn’t certain to happen.
Sé que te engañé pero ruego que me perdones. (I know that I cheated on you but I beg you to forgive me.)
Dios, te ruego que me perdones por todos mis pecados. (God, I beg that you forgive me for all of my sins.)
13. Te compadezco — I feel sorry for you
Context: To express that you feel sorry for someone
This phrase can be either formal or informal.
Te compadezco. (I feel sorry for you.)
Lo compadezco. (I feel sorry for you.)
14. Mi más sentido pésame — My deepest condolences
Context: To express very deep condolences and sympathy for someone
This expression is only used when offering our deepest condolences to someone.
Mi más sentido pésame por tu perdida. (My deepest condolences for your loss.)
15. Es una lástima — It’s a pity, it’s a shame
Context: To express regret or disappointment
This phrase is used similarly to the English “it’s a pity.”
So while it’s not used as much to ask for forgiveness, it’s a good way to tell someone you’re sorry for how something turned out.
Es una lástima que yo no pueda ir a la fiesta de esta noche. (It’s a pity I can’t go to the party tonight.)
Es una lástima que no puedas jugar en el partido. (It’s a shame you can’t play in the match.)
16. Con permiso — Excuse me
Context: To say “excuse me”
We use this to say “excuse me” in the way that we ask for permission to do something.
Con permiso, necesito pasar. (Excuse me, I need to pass through.)
Verbs to Say “Sorry” in Spanish
17. Perdonar — To forgive
Context: To accept one’s apology or pardon their actions
This is the verb behind the phrases perdona and perdón. It means “to forgive,” and is used the same way the English verb is used.
Since you usually use this verb in the context of forgiving someone, you’ll often see direct object pronouns attached to the end or before the conjugated verb.
No puedo perdonarte. (I cannot forgive you.)
La perdoné. (I forgave her.)
18. Pedir perdón — To ask for forgiveness
Context: To formally ask someone to forgive you
You use perdonar when you or someone else is doing the forgiving. But if you want to talk about the act of asking rather than forgiving, you’ll need to use the verb pedir (to ask) and the noun perdón (pardon, forgiveness).
Ella me pidió perdón ayer. (She asked me for forgiveness yesterday.)
La voy a pedir perdón mañana. (I’m going to ask her for forgiveness tomorrow.)
19. Estar arrepentido — To be sorry
Context: To express the state of feeling sorry or repentant
Estar, of course, means “to be.” Arrepentido is the participle form of arrepentir (to repent), so it literally means “repentant” as an adjective.
Él no está arrepentido de lo que hizo. (He is not sorry for what he did.)
Podemos ser amigas de nuevo si tú estás arrepentida. (We can be friends again if you’re sorry.)
20. Disculparse — To apologize
Context: To express regret for something you’ve done or said
Last but not least, we use the verb disculparse to say “to apologize.”
Note that disculparse is a reflexive verb, so you’ll need to use a pronoun to indicate who or what you’re apologizing to.
Necesitas disculparte con ella tan pronto como puedas. (You need to apologize to her as soon as you can.)
Estaba en mi trabajo cuando me disculpé. (I was at work when I apologized.)
Responses to an Apology
Now that you know how to say sorry in Spanish, it is also important to know how someone may respond. Here are some replies that you may hear (or that you may use if you’re apologized to):
Está bien — It’s okay
Está bien is a commonly used Spanish phrase that translates to “It’s okay” or “It’s fine.” It’s used to reassure someone and let them know that their apology is accepted and there are no hard feelings.
It can also be used to express agreement, acceptance or to indicate that something is satisfactory.
No hay problema — It’s not a problem
No hay problema is used the way we use “No problem” or “No worries” in English. It’s a casual and reassuring way to respond to an apology, indicating that there’s no issue or difficulty and that the apology is accepted without any concerns.
No te preocupes / no se preocupe — Don’t worry, no worries
This phrase is the negative form of a command, but it’s not used in a demanding way. Rather, it’s a common way to assure someone that they shouldn’t stress about whatever it is they’re apologizing about.
Use No te preocupes with a friend or close acquaintance and No se preocupe with someone you don’t know well or an older person to show respect.
No es nada / no pasa nada — It’s nothing
Similar to the phrases above, this is a casual way to express that the action for which the apology was given was not a problem or inconvenience at all, and forgiveness is granted.
Te perdono / le perdono — I forgive you
This is a more formal way to respond to an apology and, unlike the previous responses, it conveys that there was a good reason for the person to apologize to you. It’s either used in a serious way or sometimes in a joking way to express false gravity.
Te perdono is the informal version reserved for friends and close acquitances while Le perdono is more formal and respectful.
To drill in these responses (and all of the other apology vocabulary we’ve just learned), it’s a good idea to see and hear them used in different contexts.
This way, you’ll pick up on nuances like how they’re actually said and when exactly they’re used in different situations.
I recommend using a language learning program like FluentU. FluentU teaches you Spanish through immersion with authentic videos like movie clips, commercials, and inspiring talks.
The interactive subtitles let you hover over words you don’t know, so you can catch these “I’m sorry” phrases in action.
Apologies in Spanish vs. English
Despite what you might think, American and Spanish people apologize in very similar ways.
Both cultures apologize if they think they have done something wrong, and they both offer their condolences in sorrowful times like the death of a loved one.
There is a main difference in the way we use our words. English has different ways of apologizing, but “I’m sorry” is the main expression that can really be used in any situation.
As you’ve seen, Spanish has no such one-size-fits-all and uses different expressions depending on the context.
Learning how to say sorry in Spanish is not a complicated task if you follow a couple of conjugation and formal/informal rules.
You can learn these words and expressions and be ready to apologize in any situation that you may need to!