We all make mistakes so if you are learning to speak Spanish it would be a good idea to learn how to say sorry. When chatting with Spanish people you never know when you’ll need to say “sorry”. There are different types of meanings of “sorry” therefore there is a different word for each context. In this blog post we will look at when to use each one.
This is an apologetic type of sorry for something you did wrong.
e.g. Profesor: ¡No has hecho tus deberes!
(You haven’t done your homework!)
Estudiante: ¡Lo siento!
You may also hear people using “perdón” and “perdone” for this type of sorry.
This is a type of sorry used to offer your condolences for something more serious like the death of a relative or loss of a job for example.
e.g. Mi abuela murió la semana pasada. My grandmother died last night.
Siento la pérdida de tu abuela. I am sorry about the loss of your grandmother.
If you need to stop someone in the street or get the waiter’s attention in a restaurant for instance, in these cases you would need to use either the formal “Disculpe” or the informal “Disculpa” to say “Sorry” as in “Excuse me”. If you are talking to someone older than you or it is in a business situation or a formal setting you would opt for the formal version “Disculpe”. If you are in the street and the person you are talking to is a similar age as you or younger than you, you would use the informal “Disculpa”.
Disculpe señor, ¿sabe dónde está el supermercado más cerca?
Excuse me sir, do you know where the nearest supermarket is?
If you mishear someone and need to ask them to repeat, like in English we sometimes say “Sorry, can you repeat that please?” In Spanish you would use “Perdón” for “Sorry” to ask someone to repeat what they said:
e.g. Perdón, puede repetir, por favor?
Sorry, can you say it again, please?
You may also hear people using, “Perdone” or “¿Cómo?” to ask someone to repeat what they said.
If you learn these 4 uses of “sorry” in Spanish, if you are faced with needing to say you are sorry, for whatever reason, you will know which is best to use.