The Many Ways to Say “I’m Sorry” in Russian

Posted on August 21st, 2011

Sorry in RussianAs you know, all of us make mistakes, no one is perfect. Today, we will talk about the different ways to say “I’m sorry” in Russian.

There are two main words that you can use to apologize:

Извини(те) [iz-vee-NEE-tye]
Прости(те) [pras-TEE-tye]

They are synonyms and they mean – “I’m sorry, excuse me, pardon me”.

Извини and прости – are singular imperative verbs and are used in informal speech in Russian.  In other words, you would use them when speaking to a person you would address with “ты” (the singular form of “you”).

Извините and простите – are plural imperative verbs and are used in formal speech. You can use them with a person whom you would address with “вы” (the plural form of “you).

Conjugation chart of the verb проcить (прощения) – “ask for forgiveness”. The verb проcить belongs to the Second Conjugation:

Я прошу прощения.
Ты просишь прощения.
Он, она просит прощения.
Вы просите прощения.
Мы просим прощения.
Они просят прощения.

Conjugation chart of the verb извиняться. Verb извиняться belongs to the First Conjugation:

Я извиняюсь.
Ты извиняешься.
Он, она извиняется.
Вы извиняетесь.
Мы извиняемся.
Они извиняются.

You can add word “пожалуйста” to your apology to make it even more polite and  sincere:
Прости, пожалуйста
I’m sorry.

You can also add pronoun “меня”, or you can take it out, for example:
Извините меня, пожалуйста

Note that you can switch “Пожалуйста” with “извините меня” or “простите меня” places and it will still be correct:
Пожалуйста, извините меня.
Пожалуйста, простите меня.

Both words can also be used in polite speech instead of English “excuse me”. For example, if someone is on your way and you need to ask them to move, you would say:
Извините, вы не могли бы подвинуться?
Excuse me, could you please move a little bit?

or when you are asking for directions:

Простите, пожалуйста, как найти улицу Горького?
Excuse me please, how can I find Gorkogo Street?

More Ways to Say Sorry in Russian

Below are more ways to say “sorry” in Russian:

Ой, я извиняюсь [OY ya eez-vee-NYA-yoos’] Oops, I’m sorry
Ой, прости(те) [OY pras-TEE-tye] Oops, I’m sorry

Прошу прощения [pra-SHOO pra-SHYE-nee-ya] sorry
Я приношу свои извинения [ya pree-na-SHOO sva-EE iz-vee-NYE-nee-ya] my apologies
Приношу искренние извинения [pree-na-SHOO EES-kri-nee-ye iz-vee-NYE-nee-ya] my sincere apologies

Я извиняюсь за …(беспорядок) [ya iz-vee-NYA-yoos’ za bis-pa-RYA-dak] Sorry about the mess
Instead of “беспорядок” you can use any other noun that would indicate the reason for your apology. For example:
Я извиняюсь за опоздание.
Sorry for being late.

Below are a couple of more expressions that you can use while apologizing in Russian:

Извини, что я …  [iz-vee-NEE shto ya] I’m sorry for, sorry for…
For example, you can say:
Извини, что я взял твою книгу без разрешения.
Sorry for taking your book without permission.

Извини, что я нагрубил.
Sorry, I was rude.

Пардон [par-DON] pardon
Пардон is usually used in spoken Russian with people you know very well, it’s more of a joking way to apologize to someone. For example, if you are on a bus with a friend and you accidentally stepped on his/her foot, you can say:
Упс, пардон!
Oops, sorry!

These expressions can be used in formal speech in Russian:
Я бы хотел(а) извиниться [ya bi ha-TYEL iz-vee-NEET-sya] I would like to apologize
Я бы хотел(а) попросить прощения [ya bi ha-TYEL pap-ra-SEET’ pra-SHYE-nee-ya ] I would like to apologize

Here is another apology-related verb, and it means “to be hurt”.
Обижать (v) [a-bee-ZHAT’] means to hurt someone, while oбижаться (v) [a-bee-ZHAT’-sya] means to feel hurt. Here is what you might often here in Russian:

Не обижайся [ni a-bee-ZHAY-sya] don’t be hurt, don’t be offended
Я не хотел(а) тебя обидеть [ ya ni ha-TYEL ti-BYA a-BEE-dyet’] I didn’t want to hurt you
For example:
Ты обиделась? Прости, пожалуйста.
Are you hurt? I’m sorry.

Не обижайся, пожалуйста.
Please, don’t be hurt.

Извини, я не хотел тебя обидеть.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.

Expressing Your Sympathy in Russian

To express your sympathy you can say Мне жаль [mnye ZHAL’] or мне очень жаль [mnye O-chin’ ZHAL’], for example, you can say:
Мне очень жаль, что так получилось.
I’m sorry this happened.

Мне жаль, что мы больше не вместе.
I’m sorry we are not together any more.

Expressions Used in Spoken Russian

Ну, уж извините! Or Нет, уж извините! – When someone says “Ну, уж извините!” in Russian, it does not mean that they feel sorry about saying or doing something. Instead, they are expressing their disagreement.

Here is an example:
Ну, уж извините! Я с вами не согласен!
Excuse me, but I disagree with you!

Извините за выражение — excuse my French!
Он, извини за выражение, козёл!
He is a jerk!… Excuse my French!

Извини подвинься! – a way to express a strong disagreement, similar to “no way!”
Извини подвинься! Я не собираюсь убирать его офис!
No way! I am not cleaning his office!

Затаить обиду – to feel hurt, bear a grudge
Миша затаил обиду на своего брата.
Misha feels hurt by his brother.

Hе дать себя в обиду – Stick up for yourself.
Я не дам себя в обиду!
I will stand up for myself!

Проглотить обиду –  to swallow an insult. To put up with an insult.
У меня нет другого выхода. Придётся проглотить обиду.
I have no choice, but swallow an insult.

Reply to “I’m Sorry” in Russian

You can use verbs прощать and извинять to say that you are forgiving someone, they are synonyms and both of them mean “to forgive”, or “to excuse someone”.

Conjugation chart of the verb прощать. Verb прощать belongs to the First Conjugation:

Я прощаю
Ты прощаешь
Он, она прощает
Мы прощаем
Вы прощаете
Они прощают

Conjugation chart of the verb извинять. Verb извинять belongs to the First Conjugation:

Я извиняю
Ты извиняешь
Он, она извиняет
Мы извиняем
Вы извиняете
Они извиняют

Я прощаю тебя – I’m forgiving you
Я извиняю тебя – I’m forgiving you
Я уже простил тебя – I forgave you already

If you weren’t hurt you can say:
Я не таю обиды [ya nit a-YOO a-BEE-di]- I am not hurt
Я не обижаюсь [ya ni a-bee-ZHA-yoos’] – I am not hurt

You can also reply to an apology with “ok, let’s forget about” it in Russian:
Хорошо, проехали [ha-ra-SHO pra-YE-ha-lee]
Давай, забудем об этом! [da-VAY za-BOO-dim ab E-tam]
Ладно, забыли! [LAD-na za-BEE-lee]

A couple of examples of conversations:

1. – Солнышко, ты обижаешься?
– Нет, я не обижаюсь!

– Sweety, are you hurt?
– No, I am not hurt!

2. – Прости, пожалуйста, я не хотел тебя обидеть.
– Ладно, проехали.

– I am sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.
– Ok, let’s forget about it.

These are all of the words and expressions I had in store for you.

Please, let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below. I installed a new Facebook Comments feature, so now you can leave a comment via your Facebook account! :-)

Talk to you soon!


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