Sorry to have bothered you/Sorry (if) I bothered you

giovannino

Senior Member
Italian
This came up in a thread at Italian-English. Which of these would be most likely to be used as an annoyed/disappointed response to someone who dismissed a request you made or a question you asked?
I would have thought "sorry to have bothered you" would be used in this context. Or maybe all three can be used, with the right intonation?
 
  • vicky1027

    Senior Member
    usa english
    To me, "sorry to have bothered you" sounds more formal and British to me.

    In America, we're more likely to say "Sorry if I bothered you" or "Sorry I bothered you"

    Without more context, I would assume the tone of all 3 are apologetic. It could be annoyed, depending on intonation.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I wouldn't use any of those in that particular context ... probably because I would have opened the (short) conversation with something like "I'm sorry to bother you, but may I ..." "I'm sorry to interrupt, but may I ..."
    A negative response needs little reply from me.

    Following a positive response I might include in my thanks "Sorry to have bothered you/ interrupted."
     

    purgolders_90

    Senior Member
    American- English
    It depends on how they dismissed the request you made or the question you asked? Intonation is very important. Depending on their voice when they "dismissed the request", would determine how I would answer.

    If I felt it was because they were obviously annoyed, I would say, "Sorry to have bothered you".

    If I was suprised at their response, and not sure as to why, I would have said, "Sorry if I have bothered you".

    With the second response they could say...........

    I'm just tired.......You ask too many questions.....yes it does bother me and I would appreciate if you would not ask. Many answers. (depending on their intonation)
     

    giovannino

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you for your responses, vicky, panjandrum and purgolders.
    Purgolders, I meant something a bit different. I was wondering whether, with the right intonation, "sorry to have bothered you" could be used in a sarcastic way, meaning, for example, "I don't know why I asked you to help me in the first place. I should have known you weren't going to".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thank you for your responses, vicky, panjandrum and purgolders.
    Purgolders, I meant something a bit different. I was wondering whether, with the right intonation, "sorry to have bothered you" could be used in a sarcastic way, meaning, for example, "I don't know why I asked you to help me in the first place. I should have known you weren't going to".
    Oh yes they could.
    For some reason I didn't quite pick up that aspect of your question.
    Of the three versions given:
    Sorry to have bothered you.
    - seems least likely to be used in this way.

    Sorry if I bothered you.
    - comes next.

    Sorry I bothered you.
    - is hard to say without sounding sarcastic because it is very close to:
    Sorry I bothered.
    - which carries no concern at all about having bothered you and reflects only my irritation at myself for having thought there was any chance you'd help.
     

    giuggiola91

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Yes, that's correct.
    You'd probably say that at the end of the exchange. I suppose you could consider it the closing version of the opening "I'm sorry to bother you, but ... ...".

    I was taught that "sorry for+ ing" is used when we're apologizing for something we did in the past, but I was not really sure,since nobody mentioned it here. Thanks for your confirmation!
     
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