Please accept our apologies for this error

Tommy1971

Senior Member
UK English
How do you say;
"Please accept our apologies for this error"?
Is it something like:
"Siamo spiacenti per questo errore."?
(I'm no expert but I don't like the way that sounds!)
 
  • deb86

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi again,

    "Please accept our apologies for this error" means: Vi preghiamo di scusarci per l'errore.

    "Siamo spiacenti per questo errore." means: We apologise for this error.
     

    deb86

    Senior Member
    Italian
    This one works fine. Of course there are alternatives. Off the top of my head:

    "Ci scusiamo per l'inconveniente/errore"
    "La prego/preghiamo di accettare le mie/nostre scuse"

    and so on.

    Obviously we have many many many alternatives in Italian to say that.
    These all works perfectly!
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    This one works fine. Of course there are alternatives. Off the top of my head:

    "Ci scusiamo per l'inconveniente/errore"
    "La prego/preghiamo di accettare le mie/nostre scuse"

    and so on.
    I often hear this on the Italian Railways, and it always irritates me.

    You can't 'excuse' yourselves -- only I can excuse/pardon/forgive you for the inconvenience/delay you have caused me.

    But, of course, I'm normally vulnerable to irritation when I've been waiting for a train that is 45 minutes late. :D
     
    I often hear this on the Italian Railways, and it always irritates me.

    You can't 'excuse' yourselves -- only I can excuse/pardon/forgive you for the inconvenience/delay you have caused me.

    But, of course, I'm normally vulnerable to irritation when I've been waiting for a train that is 45 minutes late. :D
    As a commuter I can understand you, but come on, "mi scuso" shouldn't be taken literally. When you say "mi scuso" it's not like you are justifying yourself or demanding to be forgiven or anything. It's just another way of saying "I apologize".
    The problem with Trenitalia is that after all these years of delays, filthy trains and much more, apologies are just not enough.
     

    Tommy1971

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thanks again everyone! It's reassuring to know that UK is not the only country in Europe with an awful railway service!
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    As a commuter I can understand you, but come on, "mi scuso" shouldn't be taken literally. When you say "mi scuso" it's not like you are justifying yourself or demanding to be forgiven or anything. It's just another way of saying "I apologize".
    The problem with Trenitalia is that after all these years of delays, filthy trains and much more, apologies are just not enough.
    I normally(*) say something like "Mi scusi." which I believe to be a present subjunctive meaning something like "May you excuse me" "'[I wish/ask] that you excuse me" -- which is why a present indicative reflexive "Ci scusiamo" "We excuse ourselves" strikes a bit of a sour note.
    Am I over-analysing the grammar ?

    (*) Actually, I don't often say it, because I normally try to avoid the need ... :)
     

    deb86

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I normally(*) say something like "Mi scusi." which I believe to be a present subjunctive meaning something like "May you excuse me" "'[I wish/ask] that you excuse me" -- which is why a present indicative reflexive "Ci scusiamo" "We excuse ourselves" :thumbsup:strikes a bit of a sour note.
    Am I over-analysing the grammar ?

    (*) Actually, I don't often say it, because I normally try to avoid the need ... :)
    Hi Rival.... I have never thought about the difference between "mi scusi" and "ci scusiamo" because it is so "normal" for me to use both equally, that the implicit meanings seem to be the same. Perhaps it is really the same, but reflecting the two expressions "ci scusiamo" could give this idea: We say we are sorry, can't do anything else to solve the matter". On the contrary, Mi scusi, (you are right) sounds more kind: I wish you can excuse me....

    I will never use "ci scusiamo" anymore! lol :D
     
    I normally(*) say something like "Mi scusi." which I believe to be a present subjunctive meaning something like "May you excuse me" "'[I wish/ask] that you excuse me" -- which is why a present indicative reflexive "Ci scusiamo" "We excuse ourselves" strikes a bit of a sour note.
    Am I over-analysing the grammar ?
    Actually, "mi scusi" is imperative, not subjunctive, as confirmed by the fact that its colloquial form is "scusami", which definitely is not a subjunctive.
    This fact, if anything, makes it "ruder" than "mi scuso", which is indicative and therefore does not "demand" anything from anybody; it just states that you are sorry and wish to be forgiven.
    If you think "mi scuso" is too rude, the only alternative I can come up with right now is "ti/la prego di scusarmi" or the more formal "voglia scusarmi"
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Actually, "mi scusi" is imperative, not subjunctive, as confirmed by the fact that its colloquial form is "scusami", which definitely is not a subjunctive.
    Now you've got me really confused.

    I was working on the basis that scusare is a 1st conjugation verb, so follows the pattern of amare.

    My grammar book says
    Congiuntivo Presente
    Che io ami
    Che tu ami
    Che egli ami

    Imperativo Presente
    ama tu
    ami egli

    So how can the -i form in "Mi scusi" be a 2nd person singular imperative ? (Obviously the -a form in "scusami" would be exactly that.)

    As I said before, am I over-analysing the grammar ?


    Edit: And if "Mi scusi." isn't the present subjunctive, then what IS the present subjunctive ?
     
    Last edited:
    I'll do my best to explain this in English, but it's not easy since it's not my native language and I don't know anything about your knowledge of Italian.
    From what I can understand, you're getting a little confused because you are not considering the form commonly known as "lei di cortesia", i.e. the use of the feminine third person instead of the second person in order to show deference or respect.
    "Mi scusi" is indeed a third person imperative, but only because if I say "mi scusi" to somebody, that means I'm being polite with them (e.g. I'm talking to somebody I don't know and that is older than me). As I said before, the colloquial equivalent is "scusami", which is in second person.
    Long story short: you have to keep in mind that whenever the "lei di cortesia" is involved, you have to conjugate everything in the third person, even if it seems more natural to use the second person. Some examples:
    "vuoi del te?" --> "vuole del te?"
    "vieni pure!" --> "venga pure!"
    "scusami tento!" --> "mi scusi tanto!"

    Maybe this link can clarify things better than I did
     

    Leo57

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Edit: And if "Mi scusi." isn't the present subjunctive, then what IS the present subjunctive ?
    Hello there
    Obviously you need the experts to explain this, but as a matter of fact I understand your confusion. The point is that the imperative 3rd person singular "polite" form is exactly the same as the subjunctive. Check this link for the full conjugations of the verb so you can see at a glance:
    http://www.wordreference.com/conj/ITverbs.asp?v=parlare

    I wonder if these examples will help you: (scusarsi/rispondere alle scuse)
    Amore, scusami del ritardo; non potevo trovare un taxi.
    Non importa: ormai mi ci sono abituata! Hai sempre una scusa pronta!
    (Obviously this is second person "tu" form.)

    Signore, qui c'è la fila.
    Mi scusi signora! Non l'avevo capito.
    Prego!
    (obviously, the polite/formal "Lei" form)

    Signora, mi scuso del comportamento di mio figlio; a volte non lo riconosco.
    Non fa niente! Capisco...

    (Taken from Progetto Italiano 2 - the final word however, comes from our Italian friends!;))

    Ciao
    Leo:)
     

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    So "Mi scusi" IS the 2nd person present subjunctive, as I said.

    But it's ALSO the 3rd person present imperative,

    AND it's the 2nd person present indicative.


    If I use the subjunctive -- "[Che tu] mi scusi." -- I wish/ask that you excuse me.
    If I use the imperative -- "[Lei] mi scusi." -- Please do excuse me.
    If I use the indicative -- "[Tu] mi scusi ?" -- Do you excuse me ?

    I used to believe Italians who told me English is hard to learn -- NO MORE !!:D :D :D
     
    Last edited:

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    Hello there
    Obviously you need the experts to explain this, but as a matter of fact I understand your confusion. The point is that the imperative 3rd person singular "polite" form is exactly the same as the subjunctive. Check this link for the full conjugations of the verb so you can see at a glance:
    http://www.wordreference.com/conj/ITverbs.asp?v=parlare

    This is a new - and somewhat questionable presentation , in my opinion.

    Wikipedia states that the 3rd persons in the imperative "borrow" the verbal form from the present subjunctive - this is a bit better, I think.

    Better still is to remember that the odd concept here is that of the 3rd person of courtesy, which really indicates the person you are talking with, normally in 2nd person. This grammatical contortion makes it possible to think of an imperative in the 3rd person, whereas in my opinion we are simply looking at a hortative ( or is it exhortative ? ) use of the subjunctive, a common construction inherited from Latin.


    In any event , "scusarsi" in Italian has both the meaning of "apologizing" as well as that of "excusing oneself" , but the semantic contiguity of the two concepts as well as the context prevents significant ambiguities from occuring , I think :


    " Mi scuso per il ritardo " = " I apologize "

    " Non voglio scusare nessuno - l'errore e' stato fatto e qualcuno deve pagare " " I don't want to exonerate anybody .. "

    " Mi sono scusato spiegando che l'errore era dovuto alle informazioni sbagliate che mi erano pervenute " " I justified myself explaining that the error etc etc "
     
    Last edited:

    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    The third person polite form is not new to me. -- In another language I speak, it would be polite/correct to ask "Would Sir like me to put Sir's file in Sir's office ? even though I was speaking direct to him.

    I just hadn't understood that "Mi scusi" is this, as opposed to another form.
     
    I wonder if these examples will help you: (scusarsi/rispondere alle scuse)
    Amore, scusami del ritardo; non potevo trovare un taxi.
    Non importa: ormai mi ci sono abituata! Hai sempre una scusa pronta!
    (Obviously this is second person "tu" form.)

    Signore, qui c'è la fila.
    Mi scusi signora! Non l'avevo capito.
    Prego!
    (obviously, the polite/formal "Lei" form)

    Signora, mi scuso del comportamento di mio figlio; a volte non lo riconosco.
    Non fa niente! Capisco...

    (Taken from Progetto Italiano 2 - the final word however, comes from our Italian friends!;))
    So I understand that these examples are taken from some kind of textbook. Well I don't mean to question the quality of that book, but may I say that some of those examples sound quite "clumsy" to me?
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    So "Mi scusi" IS the 2nd person present subjunctive, as I said.

    But it's ALSO the 3rd person present imperative,

    AND it's the 2nd person present indicative.


    If I use the subjunctive -- "[Che tu] mi scusi." -- I wish/ask that you excuse me.
    If I use the imperative -- "[Lei] mi scusi." -- Please do excuse me.
    If I use the indicative -- "[Tu] mi scusi ?" -- Do you excuse me ?

    I used to believe Italians who told me English is hard to learn -- NO MORE !!:D :D :D

    Relax - it's all right , you'll be OK :) Things are not as bad as they look.

    Morphologically : you have indicative, subjunctive and imperative ( second persons only ). The forms are different, and if in some cases the indicative and the subjunctive coincide , well, it's a coincidence ;)

    Functionally : The subjunctive can be used as hortative, ( and not just in the present ) for example :

    " Mi hanno proprio stufato - (che) vadano a chiedere soldi a qualcun altro " " I am sick of them - let them go hit someone else for money "


    From the hortative to what can be called ( although I can't see the need for a new label ) a 3rd person imperative , il passo e' breve.
     
    So "Mi scusi" IS the 2nd person present subjunctive, as I said.

    But it's ALSO the 3rd person present imperative,

    AND it's the 2nd person present indicative.


    If I use the subjunctive -- "[Che tu] mi scusi." -- I wish/ask that you excuse me.
    If I use the imperative -- "[Lei] mi scusi." -- Please do excuse me.
    If I use the indicative -- "[Tu] mi scusi ?" -- Do you excuse me ?

    I used to believe Italians who told me English is hard to learn -- NO MORE !!:D :D :D
    This is all correct, but I want to stress the fact that there's no mistaking it: if you hear something like "Signore, mi scusi" you cannot interpret it as a subjunctive, because it is just the polite form of "scusami"
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    This is all correct, but I want to stress the fact that there's no mistaking it: if you hear something like "Signore, mi scusi" you cannot interpret it as a subjunctive, because it is just the polite form of "scusami"

    Anche se lo vuoi chiamare imperativo 3a persona, la forma verbale e' la medesima del congiuntivo, e la funzione e' un caso particolare dell'uso del congiuntivo esortativo, che nel continuum latino/italiano risale a parecchio tempo fa. Non ti pare ?
     
    Non è che lo voglia chiamare imperativo io, eh!
    L'imperativo alla terza persona esiste, questo è un fatto. Il fatto che prenda in prestito le sue forme verbali dal congiuntivo (congiuntivo esortativo) non lo rende meno "imperativo" della seconda persona.
    D'altronde si vuole esprimere proprio un'esortazione, ed è innegabile che ad esempio "raccolga le sue cose e se ne vada" non è altro che la forma gentile di "raccogli le tue cose e vattene" (decisamente imperativo)
     

    Leo57

    Senior Member
    UK English
    So I understand that these examples are taken from some kind of textbook. Well I don't mean to question the quality of that book, but may I say that some of those examples sound quite "clumsy" to me? Oh dear! Perhaps you could re-write them in a more natural Italian?
    Hello there
    Unfortunately, apart from this excellent forum, I only have my books as a guide.;) I realise of course that some people frown on them, that's why I said that the final word must come from "our Italian friends" (or, of course, any other expert in the Italian language:)). I was really hoping that my post would be helpful as that was my intention, but it seems it hasn't been. :( I'm really sorry if I just caused more confusion.
    For Odysseus: My "book" also states: Imperativo indiretto (di cortesia) : Usiamo le forme del congiuntivo presente. (It then gives examples of usage.) I was just trying to point out to Rival that even though it looks the same, it is the imperative form, but I obviously didn't make that clear. However, thankyou for your further explanation, it really helps.

    Ciao
    Leo:)
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    Hello there
    Unfortunately, apart from this excellent forum, I only have my books as a guide.;) I realise of course that some people frown on them, that's why I said that the final word must come from "our Italian friends" (or, of course, any other expert in the Italian language:)). I was really hoping that my post would be helpful as that was my intention, but it seems it hasn't been. :( I'm really sorry if I just caused more confusion.
    For Odysseus: My "book" also states: Imperativo indiretto (di cortesia) : Usiamo le forme del congiuntivo presente. (It then gives examples of usage.) I was just trying to point out to Rival that even though it looks the same, it is the imperative form, but I obviously didn't make that clear. However, thankyou for your further explanation, it really helps.

    Ciao
    Leo:)
    Stick to your grammar book , though - I am not a grammarian, and the labeling does evolve. On this thing of the imperative there may have been an evolution in the last few years - e' l'offerta formativa che evolve, and after all we have to keep printing new books every year for the school kids to buy.

    I tried to go to the Accademia della Crusca to look for their opinion on this, but the website seems to be down.
     
    Hello there
    Unfortunately, apart from this excellent forum, I only have my books as a guide.;) I realise of course that some people frown on them, that's why I said that the final word must come from "our Italian friends" (or, of course, any other expert in the Italian language:)). I was really hoping that my post would be helpful as that was my intention, but it seems it hasn't been. :( I'm really sorry if I just caused more confusion.
    For Odysseus: My "book" also states: Imperativo indiretto (di cortesia) : Usiamo le forme del congiuntivo presente. (It then gives examples of usage.) I was just trying to point out to Rival that even though it looks the same, it is the imperative form, but I obviously didn't make that clear. However, thankyou for your further explanation, it really helps.

    Ciao
    Leo:)

    Actually, I think your posts were not only correct, but indeed very helpful.
    It was just the examples that didn't sound right. I mean, they are formally correct, only they are not quite natural. Is the author of the book Italian or British?
    For instance, "non potevo trovare un taxi" looks like the literal translation of "I couldn't find a cab", but a native Italian would definitely say "non riuscivo a trovare un taxi"
     

    Leo57

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Actually, I think your posts were not only correct, but indeed very helpful. Thankyou, it's kind of you to say so. :)
    It was just the examples that didn't sound right. I mean, they are formally correct, only they are not quite natural. Is the author of the book Italian or British? link Well, it is Italian and in the main I think it's a good book with a good reputation, but it's still just a book.
    For instance, "non potevo trovare un taxi" looks like the literal translation of "I couldn't find a cab", but a native Italian would definitely say "non riuscivo a trovare un taxi" Obviously, I wouldn't have noticed this, (didn't notice) so this is why we need this forum!:D
    Ciao
    Leo:)
     
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