How to Apologize in French

For those who are learning the French language, various methods of apology may be an important component of improving communications. These phrases usually show up in guidebooks and other resources for learning the French language at a basic level. Knowing the nuances of French apologies can help a beginner to navigate language immersion situations better. If you need to learn how to apologize in French, here are some of the basic steps that experts recommend for accomplishing this specific language task.


  1. Image titled Apologize in French Step 1
    Choose an appropriate apology for the situation. French apologies range from the trivial and mundane, such as squeezing through a tight space, to more serious situations where a detailed apology is necessary. See that your wording fits the scenario appropriately.
    • Use the simple, single-word apologies for trivial situations. For entering another space, or for other less serious issues, French speakers will routinely say "pardon" or "veuillez m'excuser." Some might add the pronoun for the longer "excusez-moi" or "excuse moi."
    • Use "Je suis désolé" or "I'm sorry" for more formal apologies. Understanding the form for this type of general apology is important for using the French language well in conversation.
  2. Image titled Apologize in French Step 2
    Pronounce the vocabulary well. Regardless of which of the above phrases you use, listen to the phrase being said by a French speaker and carefully imitate the vowel and consonant sounds, as well as proper inflections and other elements of speech.
  3. Image titled Apologize in French Step 3
    Add clarifications as necessary. After the initial vocabulary, which provides a general apology, you can begin to explain the apology in French with additional sentences. Many times, the first supplementary sentence will consist of a simple noun/verb construction where you point out why something happened, in preparation of apologizing for it more fully.
  4. Image titled Apologize in French Step 4
    Consider advanced forms of apology, which require knowledge of past tense. In the more advanced apologies, where the speaker goes into the causal history of some event, it can be necessary to explore the past tense forms of verbs and additional sentence construction. It's also helpful to see how the average French speaker explains something by way of apology, in order to learn the most common phrasings of the language.


  • Look at other apologetic language, such as the use of the phrase "ma faute" or "my fault." This can provide you with an additional way to pursue the same language task.
  • Research other forms of "s'excuser." The verb "s'excuser" is commonly translated to English as "to apologize."
  • Make use of additional basic French language such as the translation of the word "please." In apologies, the French often use the common term "s'il vous plait," which translates to "if you please." Using this in conjunction with the above language can make an apology sound better or provide a transition into other speech.

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Categories: French