I apologize for the delay and hope you were not offended

< Previous | Next >


English - Canada
Good evening,

I would like to know how one could say (to a man or a woman, and not a family member): "I apologize for the delay and hope you were not offended." The speaker has been unable to answer a call for a few days owing to other matters. The call is a perfectly usual one--nothing to do with condolences or congratulations. I think one could say "انا اسف او اسفة تاخرت بالرد و اتمنى" but I am not sure how to complete the sentence.

(Would it sound natural to say such a thing in Arabic? My teacher tells me constantly that my sentences are too long-winded. In Arabic everything is so richly compressed. . .)

Many thanks!
  • Lily-of-the-Valley

    English - Canada
    MSA and a Lebanese dialect would be nice :) although I am really not sure when it becomes permissible to speak to new acquaintances (met on the street, not, say, a new professor at university) in dialect. I am always afraid of sounding impolite if I do not speak formally. . .


    Senior Member
    Arabic (Egypt)
    MSA :
    .أعتذر عن تأخري في الرّد وأرجو ألّا تكون مستاء


    Senior Member
    English (US) / Arabic (Lebanon)
    Your original MSA sentence is more or less fine, too, I think, although the أنا should be omitted. Sun-Shine's is of course a perfect way to phrase it fluently -- in particular, "I apologize" أعتذر sounds a touch better in this context than "I'm sorry" آسفة.

    I can think of a few ways to say each part in Lebanese, feel free to mix and match:

    I apologize for the delay
    • بعتزر إنّو تأخّرت/طوّلت عليك بالرَّد
      • تأخرت/طولت عليك بالرد = I kept you waiting in responding (awk translation)
    • بعتزر إنّو تأخّرت/طوّلت بالرّد عليك
      • تأخرت/طولت بالرد عليك = I was late to respond to you (literally "in responding to you")
    • بعتزر إنّو تأخّرت/طوّلت لَرِدّ عليك
      • طولت لرد عليك = I took a long time to respond to you
    • بعتزر إنّو تأخّرت/طوّلت عليك
      • This one bypasses "response/respond" entirely and just says "I'm sorry I kept you waiting".
    You can substitute إنّي (explicit "that I") for إنّو above (just "that") without issue. And be sure to inflect that ك suffix on عليك according to who you're addressing (عليكي for a woman, عليكُن for a group of people).
    Lastly, you can spell "I apologize" as بعتذر, but since it's the very first word I think spelling it بعتزر helps to set the tone informally.

    And I hope you were not offended
    "Offended" doesn't translate too well literally, but a good alternative that gets the overall meaning across is زِعِل_يِزعَل "to get sad, to be disappointed". When constructed with مِن, it has the additional meaning of "to be disappointed in; to feel let down by".

    There's also an invisible complementizer إنّو in all of these, right after the verb بتمنّى, which you can use outright if you like. (Just like with إنّي above, this one can either remain بتمنّى إنّو or it can inflect for the person/people you're addressing.)
    • وبتمنّى ما زعلت
    • وبتمنّى ما تكون زعلت
    • وبتمنّى ما زعلت منّي
    • وبتمنّى ما تكون زعلت منّي
    TBH I'm not positive about the difference تكون makes, just that it's valid whether or not it's there :oops:

    An example (conjugated as addressing a woman) might look like بعتزر إني تأخرت عليكي وبتمنى ما تكوني زعلتي مني, but any combination would work fine.
    Last edited:


    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Maybe أرجو ألا أكون قد ضايقتك / ألا يكون الأمر قد ضايقك?


    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    How about أعتذر عن التأخير وأرجو ألا توآخذني?

    While it is not a literal translation of "not offended" but it sounds much more natural to me.
    < Previous | Next >