Entschuldiging, Verzeihung, Es tut mir Leid, Mein Beileid….. Have you ever before noticed how numerous different means there are to say ‘sorry’ in German? It might leave friend wondering even if it is there’s any kind of difference in between them, and if it’s far better to say one over the other. In this article I’m going to define the different German words and also phrases definition ‘Sorry’, and how to ideal to use them.

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In English, words ‘Sorry’ deserve to mean various things. That is provided in assorted situations, periodically to typical ‘Excuse me’. For example, here’s what friend say:

If you room late to a meeting and want to apologise: ‘Sorry ns late’If you approach someone come ask because that directions: ‘Sorry – forgive me, those the best method to obtain to the train station, please?’ (Saying sorry prefer this, either and also or in ar of one ‘Excuse me’, is an extremely common in brother English)If girlfriend accidentally bump into someone: ‘Sorry’If you are sorry because that someone else’s case (including miscellaneous you’ve done to them): ‘I’m therefore sorry’If you desire someone to repeat what they’ve said: ‘Sorry?’

Now here’s how you would certainly say the exact same things in German:

If you are late come a meeting and want to apologise: Entschuldigen Sie bitte dice Verspätung.If you approach someone come ask because that directions: Entschuldigung, wie komme ich to be besten zum Bahnhof, bitte?If friend accidentally bump into someone: Verzeihung/Entschuldigung/Tut mir LeidIf you space sorry for someone else’s situation (including something you’ve done to them): Das/es tut mir LeidIf you want someone come repeat what they’ve said: Wie bitte?

As you have the right to see, there are a few different means of speak ‘sorry’, depending upon the situation. The words offered above, plus a few others, are:



(Es) Tut mir Leid

Mein Beileid

Wie bitte?



Entschuldigung is the most usual word and the one you probably will understand from school/textbooks. It method both sorry and also excuse me, and also can be offered casually, like as soon as you bump right into someone or strategy someone come ask a question, or as a more formal means of apologising eg. Because that being late. In that sense, that pretty versatile. Note it’s never ever used once expressing you space sorry because that someone else’s case or loss, though. If someone tells you they’ve lost their job, you wouldn’t reply v ‘Entschuldigung’ however with ‘Es tut mir Leid’ (see below). Words Entschuldigung has the indigenous ‘Schuld’ in it, which means fault or guilt (‘Es ist meine Schuld’ – ‘It is my fault’). 

Verzeihung is comparable to Entschuldigung, yet a little more formal. That is comparable to speak ‘Pardon’ or ‘Pardon me’ in English. Also, ‘Verzeih mir’ is how you’d say ‘Forgive me’. 

(Es) Tut mir Leid Literally ‘It go me sorrow’, this is the one to use if you desire to express you are sorry for someone else, favor if they’ve just told you they’ve shed their job, for example, you will do say, Es tut mir Leid. This is likewise what you have the right to say if you’ve screwed up and want come apologise for bring about pain/distress etc. Without the ‘Es’ it sound a little less sincere and a little more rushed. You might hear a fast ‘Tut mir Leid’ if who bumps into you in the street, because that example, or if they’re just saying ‘Sorry’ together a matter of habit and also are not really sorry at all. 

Mein Beileid This is exactly how you say ‘Sorry for her loss’ in German. If you walk to a card shop in Germany, in the ‘My condolences’ ar you’ll find cards the say Mein Beileid or Herzliches Beileid (‘heartfelt condolences’) top top them. This is the appropriate method of saying you room sorry for someone’s loss.

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Wie bitte? This is exactly how you say ‘Sorry?’ if you didn’t understand what was simply said and you’d favor the human to repeat it. Yes, words Bitte means please, yet it i do not care a ‘Sorry?’ as soon as you do it sound like a question! ‘Wie bitte?’ literally means ‘How, please?’

Leider This little word powerfully transforms the meaning of a sentence, and can it is in the difference between sounding rude and sounding apologetic about a situation. For instance: The sentence ‘Ich kann nicht’ (‘I can’t’) sounds significantly more apologetic and regretful once you include the word leider – unfortunately: ‘Leider kann ich nicht’ – ‘Unfortunately, i can’t’.

Sorry Our last word because that ‘sorry’ is…. Sorry! What through English or ‘Denglisch’ being used much more and an ext in the German language, a lot of (mostly younger) Germans currently use the word Sorry as component of their daily vocabulary. This is very informal/colloquial, though, for this reason don’t write off whatever you’ve simply learned in favour of an English loanword!