Different ways to apologize in Russian

Hello, everybody. Today’s post is all about saying sorry in Russian. We’ll learn how to apologize in different situations without being embarrassed. So, let’s go.

It’s not easy to find a common way to apologize in Russian, because it seems like we have a variety of words to use each of them in a particular case. The most common one is probably:

Прошу прощения. – I apologize. (literally “I ask for an apology”).

Others would argue that this isn’t the most popular way to say sorry, but I think it’s the best one because it’s appropriate in most cases. There’s a problem with other ways to apologize – we use them depending on who we refer to. For example:

Извини / прости (меня). – Forgive (me) = I’m sorry. – For a friend, relative, younger person.

Извините / простите (меня). – Same stuff but for people who are older and respected or strangers you meet on the street (or somewhere else).

How to say sorry in Russian

For instance:

Вы наступили мне на ногу! – You stepped on my foot!
Ой, извините, пожалуйста. – Oops, forgive me, please.

We also often use (Я) извиняюсь (I apologize) but some people don’t like using this because they suppose you forgive yourself by saying that. The point is that the verb извиняюсь is reflexive. So some russians reckon it literally means “I forgive myself”. Maybe they’re right, and it’s not the best phrase to apologize sincerely.

But if your fault is not so serious, you can use it sometimes:

Почему ты не закрыл окно? Я же просила тебя. – Why didn’t you close the window. I asked you to do it.
Извиняюсь. Забыл. – Sorry, I forgot.

We use the preposition за with these verbs when we want to ask for an apology:

Прости меня за мои ошибки. – Sorry for my mistakes.

Извините за плохую связь. – Sorry for the bad connection.

Извиняюсь за вчерашний вечер. – I apologize for yesterday evening.

In some cases it’s also possible to use the conjunction что (just like in English).

Прости, что не пришел вчера. – I apologize that I did not come yesterday.

Don’t forget that you can add the word пожалуйста (please) to your apology, so that you sound more polite. And you’ll be more likely forgiven. Maybe.

Read Also: Ways to Say ‘Thank You’ in Russian

Phrases to apologize in different situations

Прости(-те) за опоздание / Прошу прощения за опоздание. – I’m sorry for being late.

Прости(-те), что заставил тебя (вас) ждать. – Sorry I kept you waiting.

Извини(-те), что перебиваю. – Sorry for interrupting.

Прости(-те) меня за все. – I’m sorry for everything (forgive me for everything).

Это моя вина. – It’s my fault.

Я не хотел тебя (вас) обидеть. – I didn’t want to offend you.

How to Accept an Apology

Ничего. – It’s nothing.

Ничего страшного. – It’s nothing serious.

Всё нормально. – It’s ok.

Не извиняйся. – Don’t apologize.

Is there something else you want to know? Ask a question in the comments. If you don’t know how to apologize in a certain situation, I’ll try to help you 🙂

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