Seven Situations Where We Should Apologize or Express Cover

You were rushing to your office. Suddenly you bump into a man. He fell down with his bag on the ground. Without thinking of anything else, first of all, the thing you do is to say "sorry".

This word which is generally used to express regret, remorse or sorrow. Mistakes will happen no matter how hard you try to make everything right. It is not in your hand. What is in your hand is to learn when to and how to apologize. Therefore, here are seven situations where we should say sorry:

Seven situations where we should say sorry

Situation 1:  While sneezing or coughing

Sneezing or coughing is a natural thing that can happen to any person at any place at any time. When you are with some other people and suddenly you sneeze or cough, first of all,  make sure you cover your mouth using hands and you should always apologize after.

Note: In response, another person can say "Bless you" or "God bless you".

Situation 2: You couldn't hear or get someone

In the middle of a conversation with someone, you couldn't hear properly what he or she said, due to some reason. So, now you want him/her to repeat what you have not heard or understood.  You can say, "Sorry?"


  •  In interviews, you should prefer to say," Sorry sir/madam, I didn't get you. Could you please repeat?"
  • "I beg your pardon" is generally avoided.
  • "Pardon" can be used.
  • "What?" is used with an informal person like your friends, siblings etc.
  • "Come again?" is also used with an informal person like your friends, siblings etc.

Situation 3: You fail to do something

You promised your father to pass your board exams with 95% marks. Your exams went exceptionally good and the result came out. You scored 85% and failed to pass with 95%. So, when you try to do something and you fail or couldn't do it. You can use expressions like:

  • Sorry, I couldn't keep my promise. OR I couldn't make/do it.

Situation 4: While moving out from the session

Your friend invited to a party or dinner or any gathering. Or you are in the middle of a meeting or a session. Suddenly you got an important call and you have to take that call, before moving out you should say: 

  • Sorry. I have an urgent call.

Situation 5: When someone passes away

You come to know that the person you are talking to has lost his/her near and dear one, you should express your grief.

  • I am really sorry to hear that.

Situation 6: When a doctor couldn't save a patient

  • I am sorry, he/she is no more.

Situation 7: You want to correct yourself

You were saying something to someone and you made a mistake in your speech, you should apologize.

  • There are nine – sorry, eight – planets in our solar system

Common expressions used to say sorry

  • I'm so/ very/ really/ extremely sorry. (I didn't do it deliberately/intentionally.)

Response to sorry

Finally, we are going to see how to respond when someone is apologizing. It shows a sign of good manner when you respond to the sorry. So, You can respond in the following ways:

Formal WaysInformal Ways
It's okay/alright.It's okay/alright.
Not to worry.Not to worry.
Don't worry/bother.Don't worry about it.
It's perfectly alright.Forget it.
To err is human.Oh! Come on!
Doesn't matter. 

Related vocabulary

  • Fallible (Adj.)           – capable of being wrong or making mistakes (ग़लती करने वाला)
  • Infallible (Adj.)        – without fault or weakness; never failing (कभी ग़लती  न करने वाला)
  • Mistake (Noun)       – an act or judgment that is misguided or wrong, error or fault (ग़लती)
  • Blunder (Noun)       – a stupid or careless mistake (बड़ी गलती)
  • Passed by (Verb)     – to travel past without stopping (के पास से निकलना)
  • Pass away (Verb)    – die (चल बसना)

Being the first one to apologize is hard and that is one of the painful truths of being in a relationship. Knowing when to apologize is one of many ways to keep your relationships healthy and your life clutter-free.

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About the Author

Sudhanshu Tripathi

Sudhanshu Tripathi

Added Seven Situations Where We Should Say Sorry on June 7, 2018
Sudhanshu Tripathi is an Assistant Meteorologist in Indian Meteorological Department. He has completed Masters in English Literature from Kanpur University.
Last updated by Administrator on February 12, 2019


#Submitted by Arvind Kushwaha (not verified) on Thu, 02/07/2019 - 12:24

It's informative article to choose precisely and be more effective. Sharing it...

#Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 18:39

We already say sorry in every almost every situation you mentioned but It is a knowledgeable post

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