Level Up English Podcast 208 Why British Say Sorry


In this episode, I’m very sorry to say that we are talking about apologising! We cover the topic of British culture and why we say sorry so much, different meanings related to the word ‘sorry’, and some useful expressions.

Sorry for the long description.

I mentioned a BBC article which helped me with some interesting facts in this episode. To see the full article, click here.

Ways to Say Sorry

I apologise

This means “Sorry” but is slightly more formal and sounds more sincere. If you really mean it, then you can use this phrase.

“Sorry” is the simple apology that is best for smaller issues.

My Apologies

This one is strange. It’s more formal, but at the same time I would say it’s less sincere than “I apologise”. 

If you walk into the wrong classroom, you might say “My apologies” as you quickly walk out.

This one isn’t super common though, so don’t worry too much.


Pardon has many meanings! Let’s look at a few.

Pardon = What? Say that again?

Pardon me = Apology after making a bodily sound (eg. burping)

Pardon me = Sorry / Excuse me

I beg your pardon? = Showing shock and anger when offended

My Bad

A nice casual one for when you make a really small mistake. You’re admitting that it was your fault, but it’s nothing too serious.

My Condolences / Deepest Sympathies

A very sincere and deep “apology”. It’s not quite like saying “Sorry”. It means something more like “It’s a shame that happened” or “I’m sorry it happened”, but you’re not at fault.

This is used for very serious things – usually, someone who has passed away. A useful funeral phrase.

Tell us about a time you had to apologise in the comments! Which phrase would you use?

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