Excuse me, sorry and pardon

  • Suilan

    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    You can use "Entschuldigung" for all three.

    e.g. to politely ask someone to step aside and let you pass "Entschuldigung" or "Darf ich mal vorbei?" or ask for the time: "Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wieviel Uhr es ist?" or to ask someone to repeat something you didn't catch: "Entschuldigung, ich habe Sie nicht verstanden."

    For a personal apology, it's better to use "Es tut mir leid" or "Entschuldige(n Sie) bitte" since "Entschuldigung" is rather impersonal.

    "Bitte um Verzeihung" sounds rather dated.
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Before answering this question we should beforehand establish exactly what the difference is between the English versions. They differ in style, and I guess we would need:
    - a native speaker judgement
    - and ideally British and American English use
    (I personally could not do that. My English is not good enough for that.)

    I could imagine that the stylistic values of the English words would differ according to nation.

    After that would have been established we would have to discuss which German expressions would fit best. Here again I think there are some stylistic differencies between Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
     

    magnus

    Senior Member
    Norwegian (Scandinavian), Norway
    I second that. We cannot give you the German differences for English word.

    "Pardon" is as far as I know used mostly in British English. A "Pardon" is also possible in German, but the only occasion I have heard this is from news hosts on the radio after a slip of the tongue. Mother-tongue speakers of German would perhaps give you a better account on the use of this word.
     

    Toadie

    Senior Member
    English
    You can use all of them to mean "excuse me". It doesn't work the other way with "sorry", though. If you called someone a mean name, you wouldn't say "excuse me", you would say "I'm sorry". "Pardon (me)" doesn't work either.
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    "Pardon" is as far as I know used mostly in British English. A "Pardon" is also possible in German, but the only occasion I have heard this is from news hosts on the radio after a slip of the tongue. Mother-tongue speakers of German would perhaps give you a better account on the use of this word.
    "Pardon" (pronounced the French way!) indeed is used in German, but concerning style it is meant either ironic or very formal/very polite, and this only goes for Austrian use as far as I know; "Pardon" might be more popular in Switzerland (due to French influence) and probably less popular (or even outdated) in Germany (or certain parts of Germany).

    The most used colloquial word in Austria would be "Tschuldigung" or many times even shortened to "Tschuiding". In standard language this would be "Entschuldigung". But there are a great many other possibilities to express the same thing here, with stylistic differencies (and some of them being regional only).
     

    MadelineLynn

    Member
    Germany, German
    In English "pardon?" can be used if you did not understand someone correctly/ you didn't hear what they were saying.

    In German you would ask "Wie bitte?" in a similar situation.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    In English "pardon?" can be used if you did not understand someone correctly/ you didn't hear what they were saying.

    In German you would ask "Wie bitte?" in a similar situation.
    In some cases I heared "pardon?" also as synonyme for "Wie bitte?" - especially in the meaning: "Can it be, I did not understand you? I do not believe what I just heard!"

    By the way: it is spoken similar to the French pronunciation in German in this case, too.
     

    PacoBajito

    Senior Member
    Italiano standard, Napoletano
    Ok...i agree with pardon as wie bitte.

    now here is the difference between sorry and excuse me (or at least the one i meant)

    excuse me=if i have to point out something (for example "excuse me where is the station?")
    sorry=if i have to ask sorry for something (a small mistake for example if i step on the foot of someone)
     

    Suilan

    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    Which is exactly how I understood your question and what I was trying to answer in my reply. :)

    Regarding your examples:

    "Entschuldigung, wo geht es hier zum Bahnhof?"

    "Oh, Entschuldigung." -- when you just stepped on someone's foot: that doesn't require a heartfelt, personal apology)

    BUT:

    "Es tut mir leid, dass ich gestern vergessen habe dich anzurufen." -- Because this requires a more personal apology. Entschuldigung also works, but (to me) sounds less apologetic.

    Compare:
    *annoyed tone* "Entschuldigung, dass ich dir deine Wünsche nicht von den Augen ablesen kann, du musst schon deutlich sagen, was du willst!"
     
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    PacoBajito

    Senior Member
    Italiano standard, Napoletano
    Which is exactly how I understood your question and what I was trying to answer in my reply. :)

    Regarding your examples:

    "Entschuldigung, wo geht es hier zum Bahnhof?"

    "Oh, Entschuldigung." -- when you just stepped on someone's foot: that doesn't require a heartfelt, personal apology)

    BUT:

    "Es tut mir leid, dass ich gestern vergessen habe dich anzurufen." -- Because this requires a more personal apology. Entschuldigung also works, but (to me) sounds less apologetic.

    Compare:
    *annoyed tone* "Entschuldigung, dass ich dir deine Wünsche nicht von den Augen ablesen kann, du musst schon deutlich sagen, was du willst!"
    ok...now it's ok...thank you a lot
     

    mistress_draconis

    New Member
    English-Canada
    I'm coming back to this thread again as I'm wondering about the difference between "Verzeihung" and "Entschuldigung" for the "pardon me" which one would say when one burps. Is there a difference, or could we say either one?

    Thank you!
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    ... we should beforehand establish exactly what the difference is between the English versions...
    I guess we would need:
    - a native speaker judgement
    - and ideally British and American English use
    (I personally could not do that. My English is not good enough for that.)
    I could imagine that the stylistic values of the English words would differ according to nation.
    In the usage I grew up with, 'Pardon?' is asking the other person to repeat what was said, 'Sorry' is apologising, for example after accidentally bumping into someone, and 'Excuse me' is asking someone to step aside, or is introducing a request, such as 'Which way is the station from here?'.

    'I beg your pardon' is more formal or emphatic and is used as a more polite alternative to simple 'Pardon?' or to apologise for some worse blunder than an accidental bump, or (indignantly) to express astonishment at some offensive remark.

    Nowadays, 'Sorry' is coming to be used in place of 'Pardon' and 'Excuse me'.

    Above is for British usage.

    In American usage (in my observation), 'Pardon me?' is used in place of 'Pardon?', 'Excuse me' in place of 'Sorry' and 'Pardon me' in place of 'Excuse me'.
     
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    Frieder

    Senior Member
    mistress_draconis said:
    [...]as I'm wondering about the difference between "Verzeihung" and "Entschuldigung" for the "pardon me" which one would say when one burps.
    In this case I'd say "Entschuldigung" or the short colliquial form "'Tschuldigung".
    My daughter would more likely say "oops, sorry" (she is a native German speaker).
     
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