Maybe Elton John was on to something when he sang: “…sorry seems to be the hardest word.”  Indeed, it’s not always easy to apologize for a mistake we’ve made and for many reasons. First, we don’t want others (or ourselves, really) to see us as “the bad guy” that hurt somebody. Second, we’re afraid that once we accept responsibility for one mistake, it opens up Pandora’s box of our mistakes. Finally, our pride often gets in the way of our making sincere apology. 


Sometimes we don’t even really apologize; rather, we make excuses.  For example, we say things like “You’re blowing this out of proportion” or  "You always take things so personally."  These are not true apologies, however. In fact, they are called “non-apologies”.  


A true apology is when you first take responsibility for your mistake and admit you hurt someone. Then, confirm you understand the other person’s feelings and show true remorse. Finally, be clear about your desire to make amends and ask how you can fix any issues it caused in your relationship.


Of course, that is just a template as there is every mistake might require different ways of saying sorry. And that’s the subject of today’s post – the many ways to apologize. 


However,  you came here to learn about Arabic and not about psychology, right? So that means today you’ll learn a variety of ways to say sorry in Arabic. So, Yalla! Let’s get started and see that, at least in Arabic, sorry really doesn’t have to be the hardest word.


“Sorry” in Arabic Pronunciation and Vocabulary


The fact is, saying “sorry” in Arabic really isn’t hard at all. In fact, it’s أنا آسف /‘anaa asif/. What’s more, you could also say “I’m sorry,” by adding the pronoun:


أنا آسِف

/’anaa aasif/

I’m sorry in Arabic (male)


 أنا آسِفة 

/‘anaa aasifah/

I’m sorry in Arabic (female)


Other Words and Phrases for Apologizing


Still, there are times when a simple sorry won’t do. (Nor will even a “انا جدا اسف” /’anaa jiddan aasif/ or “I am very sorry” in Arabic.) That’s when you’ll need to bring out more advanced ways in Arabic to apologize.

Other Ways to Apologize in Arabic




I know that I hurt you.

/‘aʻrif ‘annanee qad aathaytuk/

أَعرِفُ أَنَّني قَد آذَيْتُك

I won't do it again.

/lan ‘af ʻal thaalik marratan ‘ukhra/

لن أفعل ذلِك مرةً أخرى

I didn't mean that.

/maa kaan qasdee/

ما كانَ قصدي

I don’t know what came over me.

/laa ‘aʻrif maa hadatha bee/

لا أَعرِف ما حَدَث بي

Words can’t express how much I regret what I said.

/alkalimaat laa tastateeʻ ‘an tuʻabbir ʻan nadamee ʻalaa maa qultah/

الكَلِمات لا تَستَطيعُ أَن تُعَبِّرَ عَن نَدَمي عَلى ما قُلتَه

Will you forgive me?

/hal yumkinuk ‘an tusamihanee/

هَل يُمكِنُكَ أَن تُسامِحَني

I’m sorry for being selfish.

/’anaa Aasif ‘nnee kunt ‘anaanee/

أنا آسف إنّي كنت أناني

I apologize for being mean to you.

/’aʻtathir likawnee la’eeman maʻak/

أعتذر لكوني لئيمًا معك

I hope you forgive me.

/’atamannaa ‘nnak tisamihnee/

أتمنى إنك تسامحني

I take full responsibility.

/’anaa almas’ool/

أنا المسئول

I would like to apologize.

/’anaa ‘ureed ‘an ‘aʻtathir/

أنا أريد أن أعتذر

I'll make sure not to make this mistake again.

/sa’ahrisu ʻalaa ʻadam ‘irtikaab hathaa alkhata’ marratan ‘ukhraa/

سأحرِص على عدم ارتكاب هذا الخطأ مرةً أخرى

I sincerely apologize.

/’anaa ‘aʻtathir bisidq/

انا أعتذر بصدق

I shouldn't have done it.

/maa kaan yajib ‘an ‘afʻal thaalik/

ما كان يجب أن أفعل ذلك

Sorry for giving your money back late.

/aasif li’iʻaadat ‘amwaalak fee waqt muta’akhir/

آسف لإعادة أموالك في وقت متأخر

Please don’t be mad at me.

/min fadhlik laa taghdhab minnee/

من فضلك لا تغضب مني



Accepting an Apology


If the person accepts your apology they’ll say something like “معلش” /maʻlish/, meaning in Arabic “don’t worry about it”.


Here are a couple more ways to apologize:


لا مُشكِلَة عَلى الإطلاق
 /laa mushkilah ʻalaa alitlaaq/

It’s no problem at all.

 إنسى الأَمر
 ‘insaa al’amr/

Forget it.


Now, نحن آسفون ولكن /nahn aasifoon walakin/ (we’re sorry but) it’s time for us to go and work on some other great articles for you. In the meantime, however, if you’d like to learn more Arabic, then why not download the Kaleela Arabic Language app? 

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