The average British person probably says sorry more than any other word – research shows exactly around 8 times a day. From asking for your bill at the restaurant to checking your phone while in somebody’s company, sorry is used on many different occasions. It can get confusing for a person who isn’t a Brit (sorry!), so we’ve compiled ways on how to use sorry the British way. 

How to use sorry like the British

A way to be polite

It is no lie that the Brits pride themselves on their politeness and use sorry as a way of showing good manners and courtesy. For example, when saying sorry when bumping into someone on the street or even when someone walks into you (it works both ways somehow!).

There are a number of other ways to say sorry the British way when being polite:

“I beg your pardon” 

“I apologise” 

Tip: Saying sorry can save you from embarrassing situations. “I’m sorry” shows you feel bad and will still be taken seriously.

Using sorry for lateness

Lateness is taken seriously by the Brits. Punctuality and politeness go hand in hand, and both are equally as important. Use sorry the British way when you are running late for work or an appointment, and if you want to go the extra mile, say “I’m so sorry”.

When meeting with friends or at informal occasions, “my bad” is commonly said instead of using sorry. Find out more in our video on how to apologise in English: 

Say sorry for sympathy

When someone is telling you bad news, the Brits respond with “Oh, I’m sorry.” This is a genuine form of showing sympathy and may be used as a reaction to receiving or informing others about negative outcomes. In more formal occasions, the Brits would say “I regret to inform you” – noticeably popular during train or plane delays. 

Asking someone something

Use sorry the British way by always adding “sorry” before you ask someone something. This could be to a waiter for the menu or a friend to pass you something. You can also use sorry when asking someone to repeat something, for example, “sorry, can you repeat that please?”. As said, simply add it before any request and it won’t sound out of the ordinary. 

Sorry for the weather

Last but not least, the weather is also something to say sorry about. The Brits love talking about the weather as it is, so if it’s raining (most likely is), people say sorry.

All in all, there is no way you can ‘overuse’ the word “sorry” according to the Brits. From silly to serious situations, British people say it a lot. There is no basic rule on how to use sorry the British way because, as you’ll hear, it is used constantly.

If you’d like to start sounding like a Brit, visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free 7-day trial with our native speaking teachers.