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How to Say “Sorry” in Spanish

There are many reasons why it’s important to be able to say “sorry” in Spanish, or any other language you’re learning. It’s one of the first things you learn when you start learning a language, and we’re sure you know why. Not only is it useful; it also shows manners, and those are important to have no matter where you are. That said, you’ll be glad that you learned how to say sorry in Spanish culture!

Here’s an example: Let’s say you’re on a trip to Spain, you’re walking down the street, and you accidentally bump into someone. They might not know you’re a tourist who doesn’t speak much Spanish, so you have two options here: you could choose not to say anything and look like the bad guy, or you could apologize and show how polite you are.

Girl Asking to be Forgiven

This is only one example of where you would need to say that you’re sorry in Spanish on a simple short trip to Spain, but if you’re planning on a longer trip—or on moving there—you’ll soon start to make Spanish-speaking friends. Even if you’re a friendly person, there are many situations where your friends might require an apology. You could forget their birthday, or you could…step on their dog’s tail by accident? Or what if you meet a special someone and you forget an important date? Anything could happen.

As you can see, the list could go on and on. We all make mistakes sometimes, and because we’re sure you’re a good person, we’re going to help you learn a few different ways to say “sorry” in the Spanish language, and how and when you should use each of them. Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Spanish Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Nine Ways of Saying “Sorry” in Spanish
  2. Four other Sentences You Might Use to Apologize:
  3. Six Different Answers You Might Get after Apologizing:
  4. How SpanishPod101.com can Help You Learn Spanish

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1. Nine Ways of Saying “Sorry” in Spanish

1- Perdón

When learning how to say “sorry” in the Spanish language, one of the first words you need to know is perdón. Perdón is the most common way of saying “sorry,” and this also happens to be the Spanish word for “forgiveness”. We don’t consider this word to be formal or informal, because this word can be used in different contexts. But do keep in mind that it’s always used in minor incidents such as the situation in the example below.

Example: Perdón, creo que he cogido tu lápiz sin querer.
Translation: “Sorry, I think I unintentionally grabbed your pencil.”

Another situation when you could apologize using the word perdón would be the first example we mentioned before, which is if you bump into someone by accident.

2- Lo siento

Lo siento is another common way to apologize in Spanish, and is usually the first one you learn when starting to learn Spanish, because it’s not as limited in meaning as the word perdón. It literally means “I feel it” and it translates to “I’m sorry.”

It can be used in a much wider sense than the word perdón: You can use it for both minor and major incidents. For example, it can be used to offer your condolences after your friend broke up with someone, or after someone has been fired.

This one has a few simple variations: If you’re not just sorry, but very sorry, you say: Lo siento mucho. You use a third version, Lo siento muchísimo, if you’re very, very sorry.

Example: Marta, lo siento mucho, me acabo de enterar de lo de tu padre.
Translation: “I’m so sorry, Marta, I just heard about your father.”

There’s still one last very common variation of this phrase, which consists of forming a sentence that starts with siento, still meaning “I’m sorry,” followed by the action or situation you’re sorry for. Don’t worry, we’ll give you an example of this one too.

Example: Siento que hayas tenido que pasar por esto.
Translation: “I’m sorry you had to go through this.”

3- Lo lamento

This phrase is very similar to Lo siento, but it’s generally used either when you regret something or in sad situations, such as when offering your condolences. Lo lamento is, by far, not as commonly used as Lo siento, so there’s no need to worry about memorizing this one right away.

Example: Me he pasado con esta broma. Lo lamento.
Translation: “I went too far with this prank. I’m so sorry.”

4- Perdona

Perdona is another very common word in Spanish, and it translates to “excuse me.” Some people say that all waiters and waitresses are actually called “Perdona,” as that’s what one commonly uses to call them. You should also use this word if you want to ask a stranger for directions.

Example: Perdona, ¿me puedes pasar la sal?
Translation: “Excuse me, could you pass me the salt?”

5- Perdone (formal)

Perdone is basically the formal version of perdona, because it follows the conjugation of the form usted, instead of (the common “you”). If you don’t know much Spanish yet, don’t worry about it, as it’s not that common anymore and it’s very likely you’ll never have to use it. We’ll use the same example we used with the form perdona, but translated to “pardon” so the difference is more obvious. Also notice that the main verb of the question also changes from puedes to puede.

Example: Perdone, ¿me puede pasar la sal?
Translation: “Pardon, would you mind passing the salt?”

6- Perdóname

This one might sound similar to the previous two words in the list, but it actually has a different meaning, which is “forgive me.” You can also say perdona when you mean to say “forgive me,” but not the other way around; so you don’t say perdóname when you mean to say just a casual “excuse me.”

Example: Perdóname, no pretendía hacerte daño.
Translation: “Forgive me, I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

7- Disculpa or discúlpame

This word, disculpa, has the exact same meaning as perdona, but it’s slightly more polite. While you can use perdona in all situations, this word is more limited in use. For example, a young person doesn’t usually say disculpa to friends or family, but rather when addressing a stranger, a teacher, or a boss.

While perdona and perdóname don’t always have the same meaning, disculpa and discúlpame are completely interchangeable.

Example: Disculpa/discúlpame, se te han caído las llaves.
Translation: “Excuse me, you dropped your keys.”

Handshake

8- Disculpe (formal)

Similar to the difference between perdona and perdone, disculpe is the formal version of disculpa. It can be translated to “pardon” or “I beg your pardon.” We’ll use the same example as we did with disculpa, with a couple of changes to make the difference more obvious.

Example: Disculpe, señor, se le han caído las llaves.
Translation: “Pardon, sir, you dropped your keys.”

9- Mi más sentido pésame

Looking for how to say “sorry for your loss” in Spanish? This last phrase can only be used during funerals or when offering your condolences. As we mentioned previously, you can also use Lo siento or Lo lamento, but this one is much more specific and standard.

Example: Tu padre era un gran hombre. Mi más sentido pésame.
Translation: “Your father was a great man. My deepest condolences.”


2. Four other Sentences You Might Use to Apologize:

3 Ways to Say Sorry

When you truly want to apologize to someone, you don’t just say “sorry” and leave, right? In situations like this, you’ll want to know other sentences that might be useful someday if you need to apologize to someone in Spanish. As opposed to the previous list, these phrases are pretty easy to translate into English and their meanings, once you understand them, will make perfect sense. Don’t worry, we’re going to give you examples of every single one. Here’s our shortlist of helpful phrases regarding how to say “sorry” in Spanish culture.

Girl Saying Sorry

1- No era mi intención (“It was not my intention”)

Example: Siento haberte hecho daño. No era mi intención.
Translation: “I’m sorry I hurt you. It was not my intention.”

2- No lo volveré a hacer (“I won’t do it again”)

Example: Perdón por comerme tu bocadillo. No lo volveré a hacer.
Translation: “I’m sorry I ate your sandwich. I won’t do it again.”

3- No volverá a pasar/ocurrir (“It won’t happen again”)

Example: Sé que he cometido un error, pero no volverá a ocurrir.
Translation: “I know I made a mistake, but it won’t happen again.”

4- No debería haberlo hecho (“I shouldn’t have done it”)

Example: Creía que estaba haciendo lo correcto, pero estaba equivocado. No debería haberlo hecho.
Translation: “I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it.”


3. Six Different Answers You Might Get after Apologizing:

Saying Sorry

Just like in English, there are a few different ways of accepting an apology in Spanish. In Spanish, there are only a few of these responses and they’re pretty simple to understand, as they all have a direct translation to English and a very clear meaning, so once again, they don’t require an explanation.

It’s Ok

1- No te preocupes (“Don’t worry”)

Example: A: ¿Te he pisado? ¡Perdón!
B: No te preocupes, ni lo he notado.
Translation: A: “Did I step on you? I’m sorry!”
B: “Don’t worry, I didn’t even feel it.”

2- No pasa nada (“It’s nothing”)

Example: A: Ay, lo siento, he vertido un poco de agua.
B: No pasa nada, voy a por un trapo.
Translation: A: “Oh, I’m sorry, I dropped a bit of water.”
B: “It’s nothing, I’ll go get a cloth.”

3- No importa (“It doesn’t matter”)

Example: A: ¿Ayer fue tu cumpleaños? Perdóname, ¡se me olvidó!
B: No importa.
Translation: A: “Your birthday was yesterday? Forgive me, I forgot!”
B: “It doesn’t matter.”

4- Te perdono (“I forgive you”)

Example: A: Lo siento, mamá, he roto una taza. ¿Me perdonas?
B: Claro que te perdono.
Translation: A: “I’m sorry, Mom, I broke a cup. Can you forgive me?”
B: “Of course I forgive you.”

Broken Cup

5- Gracias (“Thanks”)

Example: A: Mi más sentido pésame.
B: Gracias.
Translation: A: “I’m sorry for your loss.”
B: “Thanks.”

6- No es culpa tuya (“It’s not your fault”)

Example: A: Lo siento mucho, pero no puedo ir esta noche, mi padre está enfermo.
B: No es culpa tuya, ya nos veremos en otro momento.
Translation: A: “I’m so sorry, but I can’t go tonight, my dad is sick.”
B: “It’s not your fault, I’ll see you some other time.”


4. How SpanishPod101.com can Help You Learn Spanish

Now you know how to say “sorry” in Spain, but what if you wanted to visit Mexico? You can click on the following link to learn Common Ways to Say Sorry in Mexican Spanish. You’ll see that some of these sentences are the same, or very similar, but you might learn some interesting new ones!

If you’re not sure how to pronounce some of these words, you can check out SpanishPod101.com’s guide on Spanish Pronunciation.

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish. For example, if you follow this link, you’ll find hundreds of different useful vocabulary lists in Spanish. But hey, that’s not all! We have all the resources you need to become fluent in the language and knowledgeable in the culture. Just visit our website, explore, and learn!

We hope this article on how to say “sorry” in the Spanish language was helpful to you. Continue practicing, and it won’t be long until you master the art of how to say “sorry” in Spanish culture. Best of luck!

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