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How to say SORRY in Chinese

In the long journey of our animation, mistakes are part of life. An apology is always desirable afterward as it is the key to harmony in a relationship. A simple sorry can remove unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts. But “How to say sorry in Chinese?” Right? The Chinese culture is very fascinating, and every situation warrants different styles of saying you are sorry in order to save face.  Our students who Study Chinese Language in China or learn Mandarin online get these tutorials into detail, but we are making them available to all.

Saying sorry is important whether you step on someone’s toe or pour a glass of milk. In our daily routine, we apologize for more than we think, and sometimes it’s upon pretty small things.

Different ways and phrases use to say Sorry in the Chinese language.

After you master the art of apologizing in Chinese, you will never have to worry about not knowing anything.

Let’s start learning with simple words,

抱歉 = bào qiàn = Sorry.

For instance:

As an Intern, You want to say, Sorry! I can’t take you to the airport.


bào qiàn wǒ bù néng sòng nǐ qù fēi jī chǎng le.

Or how do you say?

I’m sorry.

对不 = duì bù qǐ = I’m Sorry!

If you get late to be at a specific place, you will say


duì bù qǐ! wǒ chí dào le.

Sorry! I’m late.

Let’s learn how native Chinese apologize.

For a sincere apology, you can say,


That means sorry. But be careful about using this word because it means that you owe someone for what you did. To keep it more formal, you can add the objective and subjective.

For instance,

不起你  (wǒ duì bu qǐ nǐ),

 “I am sorry to you.”

But what to say if you feel bad for something, and you want to express your emotions. It would be short words, i.e.,


bù hǎo yì sī

Excuse me

If you want to understand the literal meaning of 不好意思, then it means feeling shy or embarrassed. If you politely want to show your apology, you can use these words.

But, if you want to say that,

apologize in chinese

You are making me feel embarrassed.


nǐ shuō de wǒ dōu bù hǎo yì sī le

What if you want to take the blame?

Sometimes both in casual and serious situations, you have to accept your mistake. In Chinese, you will say that


wǒ cuò le

It is my fault.

Or you can say like that,


shì wǒ bù hǎo

It is my bad

These words show that you have already accepted your mistake. If you want to make the conservation lighter, you can add these words, 原谅我吧 (yuán liàng wǒ ba) means “Please forgive me.”

There are other expressions too that you can use for a meaningful apology, i.e.


zé rèn quán zài wǒ /shì wǒ de zé rèn

It is all my responsibility/ All the responsibility lies on me

Let’s dive more:

How to say Sorry in formal and Business situations?

If you are working in an organization and you made something wrong. Now, don’t get yourself in trouble because words have the power to handle the situation.

You can pass your apology with the words:


bào qiàn / bù hǎo yì sī / duì bu qǐmá fán nǐ le

I am sorry to trouble you.

Or you can say:


bào qiàn / bù hǎo yì sī / duì bu qǐ, wǒ jīn tiān bú néng qù le

I am sorry that I won’t make it today.

Depending upon the specific situation, you can pass different forms of ‘sorry’


bú hǎo yì sī / bào qiànjiè guò yī xià kě yǐ ma

Sorry, do you mind stepping aside?



dǎ rǎo yī xià, qǐng wèn fā shēng shén me le

Excuse me, what happened?

Keep one thing in mind:

对不起 and 抱歉 show the strongest degree of the apology. Whereas, 不好意思 shows the least degree of the Sorry.

Always try to add some extra explanation words after saying sorry. Extra words can make your situation clearer and understandable.

10 Common Phrases to say Sorry:

  1. 我不会再那么做了= Wǒ bùhuì zài nàme zuòle = I won’t do it
  2. 我没那个意思= Wǒ méi nà ge yìsi = I didn’t mean that.
  3. 抱歉我太自私了= Bào qiàn wǒ tài zìsī le = I’m sorry for being selfish.
  4. 我很抱歉对你刻薄= Wǒ hěn bàoqiàn duì nǐ kèbó = I apologize for being mean to you.
  5. 我希望你能原谅我= Wǒ xīwàng nǐ néng yuánliàng wǒ = I hope you forgive me.
  6. 我承担全部责任= Wǒ chéngdān quánbù zérèn = I take full responsibility.
  7. 我保证不会再犯同样的错误= Wǒ bǎozhèng búhuì zài fàn tóngyàng de cuòwù = I’ll make sure not to make this mistake again.
  8. 请不要生我的气= Qǐng búyào shēng wǒ de qì. = Please don’t be mad at me.
  9. 我真不该这么做= Wǒ zhēn bù gāi zhème zuò = I shouldn’t have done it.
  10. 我真诚地道歉= Wǒ zhēnchéng de dàoqiàn = I sincerely apologize.

How to say Sorry in uncertain situations?

Sometimes, uncertain situations happen where you are truly clueless about how to tackle the situation. Or maybe you feel something is not good enough. Being a non-native Chinese person, you use the wrong words. For such situations, you can say


wǒ de zhōng wén shuō de bù hǎo  qǐng jiàn liàng

My Chinese is not good please forgive me.

Or on other times you can say that,


jīn tiān zhāo dài bù zhōu qǐng jiàn liàng

Please forgive me for the poor reception today.

please forgive me in Chinese

Another one:


nǐ bié shēng qì a wǒ bù shì gù yì de

Don’t be mad (at me)! I did not do it on purpose

Last one:


nǐ bié kū le! wǒ bù shì gù yì de

Don’t cry! I didn’t mean it!

Now, you know when and where you can say sorry in Chinese as per the situation.

Condolence in the Chinese language:

When you hear about the demise of someone, and you want to say ‘I am sorry to hear that you can entail like that:


hěn bào qiàn tīng dào zhè gè xiāo xī

I am sorry to hear that

It is used to express your sad emotions, or you can say,


jiē āi shùn biàn

I am so sorry for your loss.

Other common phrases to express Sorry in Chinese:

List of the other phrases used by the native speakers of China.


wǒ xiàng nǐ péi lǐ dào qiàn

Let me apologize to you.

It is used to express a formal apology.

But what it would be if you want to convey a powerful desire to say sorry.


nǐ néng yuán liàng wǒ ma

Will you forgive me?

It is used in serious situations.

But if you want to do the self-defense, you will say,


nǐ bié guài wǒ a

Please don’t blame me.

Let’s learn a new thing:

Responses to Sorry

All these responses can use against any situation

The most one is to say, ‘it’s okay,’

  1. 没关系= méi guān xi = It’s Okay
  2. 没事= méi shì = it’s not a big deal.
  3. 别担心= bié dān xīn = Don’t worry about It.
  4. 算了吧= suàn le ba = Forget about it.
  5. 没关系 = méi guān xì =It doesn’t matter.
  6. 别放在心上= bié fàng zài xīn shàng = Don’t dwell on it.
  7. 别担心= bié dān xīn = Don’t worry about it.
  8. 原谅你 = yuán liàng nǐ =I forgive you.


Are you feeling confident after learning all these Chinese Language phrases? It is not difficult to learn the Chinese language if you have taken the initiative of learning. If you know the different expressions of saying sorry, you can change many harsh situations into polite and calm ones.

Don’t forget that words have the power to heal or break someone. It’s up to you which way is the best choice. 抱歉 = bào qiàn = Sorry, this word has the power to control harsh situations of your surroundings. Still, wondering why you should learn Chinese? it is a beautiful language

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