Conflict Resolution 101: Saying I’m Sorry in Italian

Grover Laughton7 min
Created: Jul 1, 2024Last updated: Jul 3, 2024
 Sorry in Italian

Imagine you’re in a lovely Italian café, and you bump into someone by accident. In the blink of an eye, the right apology in their language turns an awkward moment into a graceful one. Saying I’m sorry in Italian shows your manners and respect for their culture. Let’s look at different ways to express regret in Italian. We will cover simple phrases for everyday use and more formal language for work settings.

The Basic Ways to Say Sorry in Italian

Before getting into complex sentences, it helps to master basic phrases. Think of it like starting with the Italian alphabet, where each letter is the base of your language skills. You can use these simple apologies in many situations. Here are some common ways of how to say sorry in Italian:

  • Mi dispiace [mi disˈpjaːtʃe] – I’m sorry. A basic phrase, perfect for expressing sorrow or regret for minor inconveniences or mistakes.

Mi dispiace per il ritardo. [mi disˈpjaːtʃe per il riˈtardo] – I’m sorry for being late.

  • Scusa [ˈskuːza] – Sorry. Used informally among friends or people of the same age.

Scusa, non volevo interromperti. [ˈskuːza, non voˈlɛːvo interˈromperti] – Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

  • Scusatemi [skuzaˈteːmi] – Excuse me. This phrase in Italian for sorry is the more polite form used when addressing a group or in slightly more formal situations.

Scusatemi, posso passare? [skuzaˈteːmi, ˈpɔsso pasˈsaːre] – Excuse me, may I get through?

  • Mi scuso [mi ˈskuːzo] – I apologize. A bit more formal than mi dispiace [mi disˈpjaːtʃe] and is suitable for contexts where you need to offer a sincere apology.

Mi scuso per l’inconveniente causato. [mi ˈskuːzo per linˌkonveˈnjɛnte kauˈzato] – I apologize for the inconvenience caused.

  • Perdonami [perdoˈnaːmi] – Forgive me. Used in personal relationships and situations where a deeper apology is warranted.

Perdonami, ho sbagliato. [perdoˈnaːmi, ˈo zbaʎˈʎaːto] – Forgive me, I made a mistake.

How to Say Sorry in Italian Formal Settings

In a work setting, an apology should seem genuine and polite. The right words will keep the trust of team members or clients. Some useful phrases are below:

  • Chiedo scusa [ˈkjɛːdo ˈskuːza] – I ask for forgiveness. This phrase is formal and shows a strong acknowledgment of an error.

Chiedo scusa per l’errore nei calcoli. [ˈkjɛːdo ˈskuːza per l’erˈroːre nei ˈkalːkoli] – I ask for forgiveness for the mistake in the calculations.

  • Sono desolato [ˈsoːno dezoˈlaːto] – I am distraught. Used to express profound regret, especially when the mistake has significant consequences.

Sono desolato per la confusione causata. [ˈsoːno dezoˈlaːto per la konfuˈzjoːne kauˈzata] – I am distraught over the confusion caused.

  • Vi porgo le mie scuse [vi ˈpɔrɡo le ˈmje ˈskuːze] – I offer you my apologies. It is very respectful and formal, suitable for addressing superiors or clients.

Vi porgo le mie scuse per il ritardo nella consegna. [vi ˈpɔrɡo le ˈmje ˈskuːze per il riˈtardo ˈnɛlla konˈseɲɲa] – I offer you my apologies for the delay in delivery.

  • Accetto pienamente la responsabilità [atˈtʃɛtto ˈpjɛːnamɛnte la responsabiˈlita] – I fully accept responsibility. Expresses full accountability for an error.

Accetto pienamente la responsabilità per l’interruzione del servizio. [atˈtʃɛtto ˈpjɛːnamɛnte la responsabiˈlita per linterˈrutt͡sjoːne del ˈserviːtʃo] – I fully accept responsibility for the service interruption.

  • Le mie più sincere scuse [le ˈmje pju sinˈtʃɛːre ˈskuːze] – My most sincere apologies. It is often used in written communication, such as emails or letters.

Le mie più sincere scuse per qualsiasi disagio causato. [le ˈmje pju sinˈtʃɛːre ˈskuːze per kwalˈsjaːzi disaˈʤo kauˈzato] – My most sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.


Informal Sorry in Italian for Everyday Situations

Sometimes, a quick sorry is all you need in daily life when talking to your friends, family, or even strangers. Informal apologies smooth things over if you bump into someone on the street or interrupt a conversation. Here is how to apologize in Italian informal settings:

  • Scusami [ˈskuːzami] – Sorry. A casual way to apologize to someone you are familiar with.

Scusami, ho dimenticato di chiamarti. [ˈskuːzami, o dimentikˈaːto di kjaˈmarti] – Sorry, I forgot to call you.

  • Che scemo [ke ˈʃɛːmo] – What an idiot (I am). Often used humorously among friends to acknowledge a silly mistake.

Che scemo, ho preso la strada sbagliata! [ke ˈʃɛːmo, o ˈpreːso la ˈstraːda ˈzbaʎʎaːta] – What an idiot, I took the wrong road!

  • Era colpa mia [ˈɛːra ˈkolpa ˈmiːa] – It was my fault. A straightforward admission of fault, used among friends or in casual settings.

Era colpa mia, avrei dovuto ascoltarti. [ˈɛːra ˈkolpa ˈmiːa, avˈrei dovˈuːto askolˈtarti] – It was my fault, I should have listened to you.

  • Non volevo [non voˈlɛːvo] – I didn’t mean to. This phrase for sorry in Italian informal situations is used to express that the mistake was unintentional, softening the apology.

Non volevo rovinarti la sorpresa. [non voˈlɛːvo ruviˈnarti la sorˈprɛːza] – I didn’t mean to ruin the surprise.

  • Perdono [perˈdoːno] – Forgive me. A simple, direct way to request forgiveness, often used in light and familiar contexts.

Perdono, ho dimenticato il nostro appuntamento. [perˈdoːno, o dimentikˈaːto il ˈnɔstro appunˈtamento] – Forgive me, I forgot our appointment.

How to Respond to an Apology in Italian?

Now that you know how to say I’m sorry in Italian, the right response also matters. You should know a few key phrases that fit different situations. Learn them to keep the conversation smooth and polite:

  • Non ti preoccupare [non ti preokkupˈaːre] – Don’t worry. This response is light and forgiving, suitable for minor offenses or casual apologies.

Non ti preoccupare, può capitare a chiunque. [non ti preokkupˈaːre, ˈpwɔ kapitˈaːre a kjuˈŋkwə] – Don’t worry, it can happen to anyone.

  • Va bene [va ˈbɛːne] – It’s okay. A simple and effective way to accept an apology and move past the incident.

Va bene, non pensarci più. [va ˈbɛːne, non penˈsarʧi ˈpju] – It’s okay, don’t think about it anymore.

  • Capita [kaˈpiːta] – It happens. Used to convey understanding and dismiss the situation as something that could happen to anyone.

Capita, non preoccuparti. [kaˈpiːta, non preokkupˈaːrti] – It happens, don’t worry.

  • Non c’è di che [non ˈʧɛ di ˈke] – No need to apologize. This phrase for no sorry in Italian is a gracious way to dismiss the apology as unnecessary, indicating that no offense was taken.

Non c’è di che, davvero non è stato un problema. [non ˈʧɛ di ˈke, daˈvrɛrro non ɛ ˈstato un proˈblɛːma] – No need to apologize, it really was no problem at all.

Cultural Considerations When You Apologize in Italian

Apologies go beyond beautiful words; they mirror cultural values and social norms. Italians care deeply about sincerity and good manners. Some nuances that help achieve a deeper connection are below:

  • Eye contact. Italians usually appreciate eye contact when you apologize. A smile can also soften the situation, but it should not undermine the seriousness of the mistake.
  • The tone of voice. A gentle and sincere tone works best. Shouting or sounding sarcastic can worsen the situation and may offend the other person even more.
  • Body language. Natural hand gestures help show sincerity. Crossing your arms or looking away might make you seem disinterested or insincere.
  • Timing. Apologize as soon as possible after realizing your mistake. Delaying it might make your apology less genuine.

Paying attention to cultural nuances helps make an apology better. Sincerity matters a lot. Use eye contact, speak calmly, and keep your body language natural to show genuine regret.

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The right apology in Italian builds a better bond with locals and clears up all misunderstandings. Proper words show respect and sincerity in both formal and casual settings. Practice these phrases to make your apologies more meaningful. And remember that a genuine feeling of regret goes beyond words. Use our tips to speak with confidence and heart.


Do Italians use specific gestures when saying sorry?

Italians often use hand gestures to stress their words. One such gesture is putting hands together, like in prayer. Another is an open-hand wave. These little actions add warmth and seem more sincere.

Is it normal for Italians to use gifts when they apologize?

People often give small gifts like flowers or chocolates when apologizing. It shows thoughtfulness and adds a personal touch to the words.

What are some cultural dos and don’ts of saying sorry in Italian?

It is good to keep eye contact and use kind words. Let the person you apologize to speak without cutting in. Don’t say sorry too much, as it seems fake or exaggerated.

What are some online tools to learn Italian words?

Use online dictionaries like WordReference and Treccani. They offer translations, examples of usage, and pronunciation guides.