sorry + infinitive/perfect infinitive/gerund

taraa

Senior Member
Persian
The following quote is from Practical English Usage by Swan".
"Sorry for/about + -ing is used to refer to past things that one regrets. Sorry + perfect infinitive can be used with the same meaning. Sorry + infinitive is used to apologise for current situations - things that one is doing or going to do, or that one has just done."


According to the above quote can I use "to wake up" with the same meaning? And also "for waking you up"?
I'm sorry to have woken you up.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You can say “Sorry to wake you up” (as you do so, expressing it as a present action) or you can say “Sorry for waking/having woken you up” / “Sorry to have woken you up”, both of which express the same thing as a past action even though they would probably be said at the same moment.

    Obviously, these expressions are usually used in situations where the action and the comment are not virtually concurrent, as they are in this scenario. To that extent, it’s a bad example of the usage.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Thanks a lot lingobingo :)
    Do you mean "Sorry to wake you up" can't be used for actions that one has just done?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You can use whatever expression makes sense at the time. All of them work in that scenario.

    But it’s not a typical example. If someone hasn’t yet woken up/is still asleep, there’s not much point in talking to them at all! So assuming you only say it as they wake up, the waking up can be seen either as “happening” or “having happened”. It makes no real difference in this case.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I'm sorry to have woken you up.
    I see this as a completely natural thing to say:

    He shook her gently and she woke.
    "I'm sorry to have woken you up but your boss is on the phone. He is asking why you are not at work."
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A more typical example…

    Someone walks into your office without knocking while you’re in the middle of a phone conversation. They say:


    Sorry to interrupt, but the police are here and they want to talk to you. :tick:
    The next day, the same person says to you:

    Sorry for interrupting yesterday, but they said it was urgent. :tick:
    Sorry to have interrupted yesterday, but they said it was urgent. :tick:
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I see this as a completely natural thing to say:

    He shook her gently and she woke.
    "I'm sorry to have woken you up but your boss is on the phone. He is asking why you are not at work."
    Thanks a lot!
    For you can't "Sorry + infinitive " be an action that just occurred?
    A more typical example…

    Someone walks into your office without knocking while you’re in the middle of a phone conversation. They say:


    Sorry to interrupt, but the police are here and they want to talk to you. :tick:
    The next day, the same person says to you:

    Sorry for interrupting yesterday, but they said it was urgent. :tick:
    Sorry to have interrupted yesterday, but they said it was urgent. :tick:
    Thanks a lot for the good explanation!
    After one hour can they say "Sorry to interrupt you in the middle of your conversation" as an action that they have just done, please?
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Which one is correct, please?
    ..............................., but I think you've dropped something.
    a) I'm sorry that I interrupt
    b) Sorry to interrupt
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    a) I'm sorry that I interrupt
    b) Sorry to interrupt


    Sorry, a) isn't an idiomatic construction. It may have been used in English once upon a time, but not now. B. is correct.:) You could also have apologised 'for interrupting'.

    All that said, 'Excuse me' would be by far the most usual thing to say in this situation, in any case.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    a) I'm sorry that I interrupt
    b) Sorry to interrupt


    Sorry, a) isn't an idiomatic construction. It may have been used in English once upon a time, but not now. B. is correct.:) You could also have apologised 'for interrupting'.

    All that said, 'Excuse me' would be by far the most usual thing to say in this situation, in any case.
    Thanks a lot!
    Sorry London calling, can I ask why (a) isn't an idiomatic construction? Is that because of "that-clause" or something else? Since I read in the book that that-clauses are also very common in an informal style?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    'Excuse me' would be by far the most usual thing to say in this situation, in any case.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Nobody is likely to say “I’m sorry to interrupt, but you’ve dropped something” unless they really are interrupting something important. Normally, we’d just say e.g. “Excuse me, but you dropped this”.
    a) I'm sorry that I interrupt

    ……
    can I ask why (a) isn't an idiomatic construction? Is that because of "that-clause" or something else? Since I read in the book that that-clauses are also very common in an informal style?
    “I’m sorry [that] I interrupt” implies that interrupting is something you do all the time!

    The simple present
    can only be used to mean a habitual action or a current situation, not an action being performed as you speak:


    I’m sorry that…
    I [always] talk too much :tick:
    the house is in such a mess :tick:
    I spill my wine on your carpet :cross:
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    We don't say it, simple as that.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Nobody is likely to say “I’m sorry to interrupt, but you’ve dropped something” unless they really are interrupting something important. Normally, we’d just say e.g. “Excuse me, but you dropped this”.

    “I’m sorry:thumbsup: [that] I interrupt” implies that interrupting is something you do all the time!

    The simple present
    can only be used to mean a habitual action or a current situation, not an action being performed as you speak:


    I’m sorry that…
    I [always] talk too much :tick:
    the house is in such a mess :tick:
    I spill my wine on your carpet :cross:
    Thank you both so much :)
    The simple present can only be used to mean a habitual action or a current situation, not an action being performed as you speak:

    I’m sorry that…
    I [always] talk too much :tick:
    the house is in such a mess :tick:
    I spill my wine on your carpet :cross:
    And thanks a lot for this point too :)
     
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