9 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 9 ways that you can apologize in Spanish as well as how to respond when you are apologized to.
- How to Say Sorry in Spanish
- Responses to an Apology
- Apologies in Spanish vs. English
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How to Say Sorry in Spanish
1. Perdona (Forgive me)
This is used when you want to apologize for doing something that is wrong but not too bad. You can also use it when you want to get someone’s attention or need someone to repeat something.
Perdona is the casual form of this expression, but you can use perdone for more formal situations or even the neutral perdón that can be used in almost every context:
Perdona por llegar tarde. (Sorry for being late.)
Perdón. No lo había visto. (Sorry, I hadn’t seen you.)
Perdone, ¿sabe donde está la calle Málaga? (Excuse me, do you know where Málaga Street is?)
2. Lo siento (I’m sorry)
This is probably the most commonly used expression for asking for forgiveness, expressing remorse or 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.)
3. Disculpa (Excuse me)
Disculpa is typically used to apologize for something or to attract someone’s attention. This can also 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 donde está el banco? (Excuse me, do you know where the bank is?)
4. Me arrepiento (I regret)
This is used to say that you regret what you have done. It is 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.)
5. Lamento (I’m very sorry)
This is a very formal verb used only when you are deeply sorry for having done something or you want to offer your condolences:
Lamento muchísimo lo ocurrido. (I’m deeply sorry for what’s happened.)
Lamento la pérdida de tu hermana. (I’m very sorry for the loss of your sister.)
6. Te compadezco (I feel sorry for you)
This very formal verb is used when you feel sorry about another person for whatever reason. This also can be formal or informal:
Te compadezco. (I feel sorry for you.)
Lo compadezco. (I feel sorry for you.)
7. Mi más sentido pésame (My deepest condolences)
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.)
8. Permíteme (Allow me)
This is a very polite way to ask for permission or forgiveness for something you are about to do. You may use the less formal permíteme with a friend or family member and permítame for someone you are less familiar with:
Permíteme decir algo. (Allow me to say something.)
Permítame venir con usted. (Let me come with you.)
9. Con permiso (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.)
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 are apologized to):
- Está bien. (It’s okay.)
- No hay problema. (It’s not a problem.)
- No te preocupes/No se preocupe. (No worries.)
- No es nada. (It’s nothing.)
- Te perdono/Se perdono. (I forgive you.)
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.
Keep an eye out for this vocabulary when watching Spanish TV shows and movies or while listening to Spanish podcasts—where ever you get your fix! For authentic videos, I’d suggest using a language learning program like FluentU: it’s got a ton of content such as movie clips, commercials, and inspiring talks, all made by and for Spanish speakers.
You’ll get to see how native speakers apologize and respond to apologies in different contexts, as well as use the interactive subtitles, flashcards and other learning tools to enhance your learning.
Plus, the program comes as an iOS and Android app, which makes for easy learning whenever you’ve got some time to kill.
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.
As you can see, 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!