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Difference between – ‘Sorry’, ‘Excuse me’ & ‘Pardon’

In this Basic spoken English lesson, Rachna is going to tell you in what situation one must say ‘sorry’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘pardon’. These three expressions are important in our daily conversation. Hence, knowing their correct usage is very important.

Using ‘Sorry’:

  • I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. (say ‘sorry’ when you do something wrong or regret something that you have done. It is an apology you make)
  • I’m sorry all flights are delayed. (to give unpleasant news)
  • Sorry, could you please repeat that? ( to ask someone to repeat something that you missed listening)
  • I’m sorry I can’t come today. (to refuse an offer)
  • Sorry to hear about your loss. (to give condolence to someone who has lost their dear one)

Using ‘Excuse me’:

  • Excuse me, could you please tell me the way to the bank? ( to get someone’s attention, especially a stranger)
  • Excuse me……..( when you want someone to move so you could walk past by)
  • Excuse me, I’ll be right back. (when you want to go away from the place you are in. Example, you finish your diner while others are still eating at the same table, say excuse me and then walk away)

Using ‘Pardon’:

A lot of people avoid using this expression. However, we must know its usage.

  • I beg your pardon, I didn’t see your bag. ( a very formal way of saying ‘sorry’)
  • The two criminals were pardoned. (they were guilty but left without being punished)
  • John could never pardon Maria for her bad behavior. (to forgive someone for doing something wrong or for bad behavior)

When you sneeze, burp or fart; you can use any of the three expressions.

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