1. saying sorry
• arriving late
‘I apologise for having kept you waiting.’ ‘Please don’t bother.’ (formal)
‘I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.’ ‘Please don’t bother.’ (formal)
‘Sorry I’m late.’ ‘It doesn’t matter.’ (semi-formal)
It’s not important enough to worry about.
‘Sorry.’ ‘Say no more.’/ ‘Forget it.’ (informal)
Please avoid these as ‘responses’:
‘No hard feelings at all.’/ ‘Don’t worry’
• (asking someone to repeat what they said a moment ago)
Excuse me (NAmE)
Come again? (informal)
• (making noises like belching, sneezing, farting)
I beg your pardon. (formal)
• (disagreeing politely)
Excuse me but that wasn’t my intention.
No, that wasn’t my intention. (semi-formal)
I didn’t mean it that way. (informal)
• (leaving a group or someone in the middle of a conversation)
Excuse me. (formal)
Just a moment/ I won’t be long. (semi-formal)
Be back in a minute/ in a jiffy. (informal)
2. Enquiring one’s health etc.
• (someone looking unwell)
Are you all right? / Are you OK?
How are you feeling now? / Are you better?/ Feeling better?
• (someone says they’re ill)
I hope you get better soon.
• (you hear someone has died)
I’m (terribly) about your father.
• (expressing sympathy to a family where death has occurred)
Please accept our condolences. (to a member of the family)
Please convey our condolences to the bereaved family. (message through someone)
Our condolences go to ... (his wife and family) (message)