Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Do you know how to apologize to your colleagues in English?

Do you have the skills to maintain the business relationship but still get your message across?

“Hi Lindsay could you tell me what kind of expressions we can use when we apologize to someone?”

-Shirin, AEE Listener


Why would you want to apologize at work?

  • You were late to a meeting
  • Your colleague complained that you didn’t listen to them (learn how to show you’re listening)
  • You miss a deadline
  • There was a misunderstanding and someone got offended


Important tips:

  • Don’t be defensive. Be calm and try to relax.
  • Don’t deny that you made a mistake.
  • Be proactive, apologize before the person comes to you for an apology.
  • Be intentional and direct.
  • Don’t be too proud.


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Phrases to apologize:

  • “Hey I’d like to apologize for being late to the meeting.” (sometimes you might start with “hi” or “excuse me” to start the sentence if your workplace is more formal)
  • …”I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
  • “I was wrong to ______. I apologize for that.”
  • “I made a mistake when I ______. I am really sorry about that.”


**Pro tip:

Be direct. These days no one is direct and people hide behind their smartphones.

If you can be direct it will make you stand out as being more professional at work.


Have you used these phrases at work?

How did they work for you?

Let us know in the comments below.

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