Entschuldigen, Verzeihung, Es tut mir Leid

Cracker Jack

Senior Member
Entschuldigen Sie
Verzeihung
Es tut mir Leid.

These are 3 ways of expressing regrets, apology or simply I am sorry. However, I'd like to know when they are used properly. Before the offense is done what is the most proper thing to say? And what about after?

Examples:

1. I am in a hurry and I unintentionally broke a fragile object or stepped on someone else's foot, what do I say?

2. I am about to pass by a narrow road but two persons are talking. In order to pass through, what do I say?

3. I would like to ask for directions and I call the attention of someone, what do I say?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Krümelmonster

    Senior Member
    Germany, german
    "Entschuldigen Sie" is used for the third one.

    For the first example I would say "sorry", but "Verzeihung" would match best (at least for the foot, which is not that important. if you break something that is really important for the owner, you'll say "tut mir leid")
    For the second example you could use "verzeihung" or "entschuldigen Sie" or simply "entschuldigung"...
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Cracker Jack said:
    Entschuldigen Sie
    Verzeihung
    Es tut mir Leid.
    You'll hear "Sorry", "Verzeihen Sie", "Entschuldigung", or "Tut mir Leid", too.

    Entschuldigen Sie - very formal (addressing a person you don't know)
    Verzeihung - very formal (if you have to cough)
    Es tut mir Leid/Sorry/Tut mir Leid/Entschuldigung - informal to apologize in general

    These are 3 ways of expressing regrets, apology or simply I am sorry. However, I'd like to know when they are used properly. Before the offense is done what is the most proper thing to say? And what about after?
    What would you say in ENglish before the "offense is done"? :confused:

    1. I am in a hurry and I unintentionally broke a fragile object or stepped on someone else's foot, what do I say? "Ah, tut mir Leid", "Oh entschuldigen Sie". If you know the person: "Sorry".

    2. I am about to pass by a narrow road but two persons are talking. In order to pass through, what do I say? "Verzeihung bitte", "Dürfte ich bitte durch?", "Entschuldigung, aber ..."

    3. I would like to ask for directions and I call the attention of someone, what do I say? "Verzeihung, ich ...", "Entschuldigen Sie".
    Hope it helps. :)
     

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    Danke schön für die Beantwortung Krüm and Whod. I didn't know that the word ''Sorry'' exists too in German and that the meaning is the same. That is new information for me. Thanks Whod.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Whodunit said:
    What would you say in English before the "offense is done"? :confused:
    LOL!

    This does sound as if someone is planning to do something rude or awkward, in advance, and wishes to be excused, in advance.

    Now, if you absolutely HAD to "break wind" (fart), you knew you could not stop it, and you knew that someone would hear it and possibly smell it, you might say:

    I'm so sorry, I can't help it…

    You can imagine the rest. :D

    As for the more general problem, I think it is what comes after that is more important. When I was in Berlin, I heard "Verzeihung" used very often in crowded situations in exactly the way we would say, "Excuse me". In many cases it is a polite way of saying, "Would you please get out of my way." (Going through doors, trying to get past people, and so on.)

    When I actually needed to ask a question to someone I did not know (for directions or other information), I was probably so polite, you will laugh, but I would say:

    "Entschuldigen Sie, können Sie mir sagen, wie…"

    This to me is roughly the same as this phrase, in English:

    "Excuse me sir/ma'am, could you tell me how I…"

    Now, if you are talking to someone young, either as an older person or someone who is also young, you would leave out the "sir/ma'am" part. :)

    I will tell you that in only two weeks in Berlin I got an incredible amount of help, and my impression was that even if I was overly formal, it was appreciated by most people. :)

    Gaer



    Hope it helps. :)[/quote]
     

    Cracker Jack

    Senior Member
    Whodunit said:
    What would you say in ENglish before the "offense is done"? :confused:
    Sorry I left this out. If you are about to do something that will be inconvenient for others, you say "Excuse me." This is applied in a situation wherein a person is busy and you would like to ask him a favor.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    gaer said:
    LOL!

    This does sound as if someone is planning to do something rude or awkward, in advance, and wishes to be excused, in advance.
    I thought so, too. :D

    Now, if you absolutely HAD to "break wind" (fart), you knew you could not stop it, and you knew that someone would hear it and possibly smell it, you might say:

    I'm so sorry, I can't help it…
    Ok, in German you'd normally say nothing. You simply hope that no one will hear or smell it. If that happens to me, I just try to "stifle" it and hope it won't come ... ehem ... at least, I wouldn't mention it or appeal it to my peers. :)

    Cracker Jack said:
    Sorry I left this out. If you are about to do something that will be inconvenient for others, you say "Excuse me." This is applied in a situation wherein a person is busy and you would like to ask him a favor.
    Ok, that's different. You could say "Entschuldigen Sie die Störung" or simply "Entschuldigung".
     
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