An apology may restore trust and understanding with your Italian friends or acquaintances.
But, how to say sorry in Italian?
How to say sorry in Italian
When it comes to saying sorry in Italian, the most common phrase you can use simply ‘scusa.’
- Scusa! Non ti avevo visto.
Sorry, I didn’t see you.
Of course, it’s basic and there are many other phrases you can use.
The way you apologize can depend on many factors, such as the context, what we did and f course, the kind of relationship involved.
These three ways of saying sorry in Italian are good for casual situations, where nothing bad happened and you made a small mistake. Maybe dropped a glass at your friend’s house or forgot to close the door.
- Mi Dispiace – I’m sorry
- Perdonami – Forgive me
- Ti chiedo perdono – I ask for forgiveness.
Since you also need to know how to say sorry in case you actually did something that requires an apology, you can use one of the following.
- Non avrei davuto farlo – I shouldn’t have done that.
Although this can be a good way to say sorry in Italian, it can also create a boomerang effect and you may hear someone saying “well, you should’ve thought about that.’
- è tutta colpa mia – It’s all my fault
In general, when you can accept that you made a mistake, it’s also a sign of maturity and this way to say sorry can prove that for you.
- Ti prometto che non si ripeterà – I promise that it won’t happen again
By promising that you won’t repeat the action you can successfully say sorry in Italian. The person you are talking to will understand that you regret it, but this excuse will not work if you continuously do the same thing.
- Riconosco di aver esagerato – I recognize that I have exaggerated
When you want to show maturity and awareness regarding a problem, you can definitely use this expression. This one is good especially if you did something extreme.
- Come posso rimediare? – How can I fix it?
Among all, this is the only expression that goes beyond the mere excuse.
With this, literally, you not only recognize an error and ask to be forgiven, but you offer to actually do something to remedy what you did!
While these are very good ways to say sorry in Italian, you also need to know how to apologize in a formal context.
Maybe with your boss, co-workers, or your significant other’s family.
Sorry in Italian in Formal Situations
- Sono mortificato/a / amareggiato/a per l’accaduto
I am mortified / bitter about what happened
By using this sentence you can really express how sorry you feel about a certain something.
Another formal expression, even more elaborate, could be:
- Mi assumo tutte le responsabilità, ma spero che potremo metterci una pietra sopra
I take full responsibility, but I hope we can put a stone on it
This is again, a very formal way of saying sorry. It shows maturity, for taking responsibility and allows you and the person in discussion to forget about it and don’t mention it again.
When you are talking in a formal context, make sure to always use ‘lei’ instead of ‘tu,’ especially if the phrase contains a reference to the person you are talking to.
If your Italian language level is quite advanced, then you can use these phrases to start making your own apologies.
How to Make Your own Apologies
You can always use these phrases and make yourself a cheatsheet in order to learn how to say sorry in Italian.
- Mi scusi/Scusami/Scusatemi se…: Sorry if…
- Mi scusi/Scusami/Scusatemi per…: Sorry for…
- Mi perdoni/Perdonami/Perdonatemi se…: Pardon me if…
- Mi perdoni/Perdonami/Perdonatemi per…: Pardon me for…
It’s important to learn how to differentiate the formal expressions from the casual ones and use them accordingly. For example, if you say ‘scusami’ when addressing one person, it’s considered casual, as if you were talking to a friend. But, if you use ‘mi scusi,’ it becomes formal and you can use it when trying to apologize to someone who’s older than you.
And the same stands for saying ‘pardon me.’ If you say ‘perdonami,’ then it’s completely informal, but ‘mi perdoni’ is formal and should be used in the correct situation.
Saying sorry in Italian is not hard, and with enough practice you are going to be able to start forming real sentences such as.
- Mi scusi se l’ho interrotta – Sorry if I interrupted you.
- Scusami per aver mangiato la tua pasta! – Sorry for eating all of your pasta!
- Scusatemi per il disturbo – Sorry [to all of you] for the inconvenience.
- Perdonami se ti ho offeso – Pardon me if I offended you.
- Perdonatemi per avervi fatto perdere tempo – Pardon me for wasting [all of] your time.
- Perdonami per favore. Ho sbagliato – Please forgive me. I made a mistake.
Sorry, the list is over!
Ultimately, all you need is perseverance and the will to say sorry in Italian whenever you need to.
There are many phrases you can learn and use and they will definitely help you on your next trip to Italy!