How to say I’m sorry in Spanish: Lo siento, Perdón y Disculpe

“I’m sorry” is an example of a word that can cause confusion especially when learning how to speak Spanish – since you normally say it on the fly, and abruptly.  Fortunately, the principles of “I’m sorry” in Spanish are pretty manageable, and not one to be a burden for the long-term.  The three Spanish expressions for “I’m sorry” / “Excuse me” can be used interchangeably for the most part as they have almost the same meaning.  Normally, there is no marked difference between Lo siento, Perdón and Disculpe as the context or the idea of the three is the same “apologize” for something we did wrong or some accident, or disturbance that we cause.

For example:

  • Lo siento por llegar tarde. – Sorry for being late.
  • Perdón por llegar tarde. – Sorry/Excuse me for being late.
  •  Disculpa por llegar tarde. – Sorry for being late.

As you can – the three words can be used in exactly the same way, and convey the same meaning.

Easy – right?  The good news is normally- yes!  The bad news is however there are situations that they can’t (shouldn’t) be used in the same way.


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