Skip to Content

9 Ways To Say “I’m Sorry” in French

Do you want to know the several ways to say I’m sorry in French in 10 minutes?

Even if you are just visiting another country, knowing how to say “I’m sorry” is one of the most valuable things you can learn in any language. It makes no difference what language you speak; mistakes are bound to happen.

Knowing how to say “I’m sorry” in French will help you in apologizing for your blunders and ensuring that you do not hurt someone – or at the very least, know how to rectify the situation just in case. 

9 Ways to Say “I’m Sorry” in French

Im Sorry In French
Journey To France contains affiliate links all throughout the site. If you choose to purchase a product or book services through our affiliate links, this earns us a commission at no extra cost to you. For our complete disclosure, click here

The following are some French apology phrases that will come in handy in uncomfortable situations.

1. Simple Ways To Say I’m Sorry In French

There are three important expressions to note while learning how to say “sorry” in French. Apologies can be expressed in a variety of ways, but in France, these are usually the basic three words:

  • Désolé(e)! – Sorry!
  • Pardon! – Sorry! Excuse-me!
  • Toutes mes excuses! – My apologies!

To express your apologies, you may use any of these three phrases. You may use these if you accidentally bumped into someone or to be respectful when you make a minor error.

In French, “je suis désolé(e)” is the most popular way to say “I’m sorry.”

Also, when you want to get someone’s attention, such as a waiter’s, you can use “désolé(e)” or “pardon”.

2. Variations of Excusez-Moi To Apologize

Here are Casual and Formal variants of “Excuse me” in French with their literal English translations:

  • Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser.– I apologize. (Very formal)
  • Je vous présente mes excuses. – I apologize. (Formal)
  • Veuillez m’excusez. – Please excuse me. (Quite formal)
  • Toutes mes excuses. – All my excuses. (Colloquial)
  • Je m’excuse. – Although you may hear “je m’excuse,” this is a rude word. You’re meant to apologize and beg forgiveness. You are practically forgiving yourself when you say “je m’excuse.” The intention is to beg forgiveness, and the phrase “je m’excuse” is widely used in France. However, it isn’t proper French.
  • Excuse-moi / Excusez-moi –  These are two popular polite formulas that, like their English counterpart (Excuse me), can be used in everyday interactions.

3. Variations of Désolé To Apologize

Désolé (“Sorry”) is another staple of French apologies, and it can be used in both informal and formal situations:

  • Je suis sincèrement désolé(e) – I’m sincerely sorry
  • Je suis profondément désol(é) – I’m deeply sorry
  • Je suis vraiment désolé(e) – I’m truly sorry

You may not want to sound too casual when saying “I’m sorry” in French.  How you say you are sorry depends on the seriousness of the situation. Here’s how to make your apologies stand out, as well as how to use them with Désolé.

  • Vraiment – Really
  • Sincèrement – Sincerely
  • Réellement – Truly
  • Tellement – So 
  • For example Je suis tellement désolé. – I am so sorry.

4. Variations of Pardon – Different ways of saying “Forgive me” in French with their literal English translations.

Forgive Me In French
  • Je vous prie de bien vouloir me pardonner – Please forgive me. (Very formal)
  • S’il te plaît, pardonne-moi – Please forgive me (Using tu)
  • J’espère sincèrement que vous pourrez me pardonner – I sincerely hope you will be able to forgive me.
  • Je vous demande pardon – I beg your pardon (Using yous).
  • Je te demande pardon  – I beg your pardon (Using tu)

For casual or formal interactions, pardon (“forgiveness”) works in the same way. 

5. More Personal/Intimate Ways To Say I’m Sorry in French

There are a few more precise ways to say “I’m sorry” in French. These versions of “I’m sorry” are for people you know, such as family, friends, or coworkers, and are addressed or spoken to them personally or as part of a letter.

  • Je suis désolé de t’avoir fait du mal. – I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. 
  • Je te présente mes excuses – Please accept my apologies 
  • Je te présente mes sincères excuses. – Please accept my sincere apologies. 

Want to learn French for free? Rocket Languages helps you to learn French faster and more effectively.


6. I’m Sorry and Asking for Forgiveness in French

Aside from pardon, here are a few other correct ways to say sorry and ask for forgiveness.

  • Qu’est-ce que je peux faire pour me faire pardonner ? – What can I do for you to forgive me?
  • J’espère que tu pourras me pardonner – I hope you’ll find it in you to forgive me. 
  • J’espère que tu sauras me pardonner – I hope you’ll be able to forgive me 

7. I’m Sorry and Expressing Regret in French

Apologies should always be accompanied by regret for having made a mistake. Here are some examples of how to apologize and express remorse.

  • Ce que j’ai fait est impardonnable. Je regrette tellement. – What I did is unforgivable. I regret it. 
  • Je regrette profondément ce que j’ai fait. – I sincerely regret what I did. 
  • Je regrette ce que j’ai dit. – I regret what I said.

8. I’m Sorry and Taking Responsibility 

 If you ask for forgiveness, you will want to take responsibility and admit that you are to blame for your wrongdoings. Here’s how you do it:

  • C’est ma faute – It’s my fault
  • Je ne le ferai plus – I won’t do it again
  • Je n’aurais pas dû dire ça. – I should not have said that.
  • Comment puis-je me faire pardonner ? (“How can I be forgiven?”)

You may use a little slang in an informal environment, but with caution, as both of these words are very familiar: 

  • J’ai merdé. – I’ve messed up.
  • J’ai déconné. – I’ve screwed up.

9. Professional Apologies in French

Whether it’s to consumers, partners, or investors, every business must issue apologies at some point. Professional apologies are highly codified and generally articulated with formulas that are formal and direct. 

There is no set format for these professional apologies, but, they typically resemble the following:

  • Veuillez nous excuser de la gêne occasionnée. – Please, excuse us for any inconvenience.
  • Je suis au regret de vous informer que… – I’m sorry to inform you that…
  • Nous vous présentons nos excuses pour ce désagrément. – We offer you our apologies for this inconvenience.
  • Je vous prie de nous pardonner pour… – Please, forgive us for… 

Bonus: How to Respond to an Apology in French

You need to know what to do if you think the other person is sincere. You should be willing to accept their apologies. And, if you’re apologizing to anyone, you should be aware of what they might say in response.

In the case of a minor blunder that didn’t require an apology:

  • C’est rien. – It’s nothing
  • C’est pas grave. – It’s nothing serious
  • Pas de soucis. – No worries

If it’s a more serious offense, here’s what you can say if the person apologizes: 

  • J’accepte tes excuses. / J’accepte vos excuses. – I accept your apologies.
  • Merci de t’être excusé. / Merci de vous être excusé. – Thank you for apologizing.
  • Ne t’en fais pas. / Ne vous en faites pas. – Don’t worry
  • Je comprends. – I understand.

Want to learn more French phrases? Check out our language guides below: 

Get fluent fast now. Upgrade your French language skills with our free classes online today.

Sharing is caring!

How To Say Thank You In French - Journey To France

Saturday 10th of July 2021

[…] I’m Sorry in French […]

10+ Ways to Say Nice To Meet You In French - Journey To France

Friday 28th of May 2021

[…] I’m Sorry in French […]

How To Say Hello In French In Different Ways - Journey To France

Tuesday 25th of May 2021

[…] I’m Sorry in French […]

Comments are closed.
error: Content is protected !!