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12 Alternatives for “I apologize for the inconvenience”

12 Alternatives for “I apologize for the inconvenience”

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You don’t have to be a linguist nor a grammar teacher to become linguistically adept and flexible.

All you need to do is to regularly feed your brain with a myriad of information that contains a whole heap of practical expressions that can be used in various contexts.

But, of course, you can’t just stop there. To become more fluent and eloquent, you also need constant practice and application.

To assist you with that, our text today focuses on twelve practical alternatives to “I apologize for the inconvenience” – a well-known business English expression used when eating a humble pie.


What do we mean by the expression “I apologize for the inconvenience”?

“I apologize for the inconvenience” is a commonly used formal statement for taking responsibility for a self-inflicted error or uncontrollable situation. It is a practical linguistic device that fundamentally helps in rebuilding and maintaining social relationships that bind society together.


Making your linguistic repertoire flexible with these 12 alternatives for “I apologize for the inconvenience”

While expressing regret requires more mental and emotional energy than expressing gratitude, the art of apologizing doesn’t have to be that cumbersome.

Whether you had to be intubated in the ER for having been served food you’re severely allergic to, or the surgeon had just amputated your wrong leg, you definitely deserve an apology.

In dire situations like these, any transgressor in their right mind would do everything within their power so they don’t end up getting locked behind bars.

But, in less extreme cases, it would be enough, for example, to write an apology letter for not attending an event to compensate for the wrongdoing.

Since any sane person wouldn’t dare skip an apology, let alone do it wholeheartedly, every time they commit either a minor or grave offense, cultivating linguistic tools that demonstrate such remorseful intent is crucial.

So, without further ado, here are twelve different ways to say “I apologize for the inconvenience” in decreasing formality levels.

By the way, an apology may not be enough sometimes, so learning gratitude expression alternatives to “Thank you for the cooperation” would also do you a favor.


1. Please allow me to express my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that I have caused

If put in a casual context, this first alternative suggests the meaning “I really regret what happened, and I promise to do anything in a heartbeat to make things right.”

As you may notice, this verbiage contains quite an extravagant connotation – something that’s a little too fancy for just a bush league mistake.

Hence, this quite verbose statement is a great way to promote reconciliation when you have committed a catastrophic offense, notwithstanding whether it is intentional or not.

You may resort to this highly formalistic statement when the reputation of the organization you belong to could be put at stake, if not acted upon immediately. 

For example, you can use this expression when financial mistakes are committed, such as overcharged billings or refund delays.

Here’s an example:


Dear Mr. Chapman:

Please allow us to express our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that we have caused. It appears to us that this situation is unusual, but we will certainly take action right away. Kindly give us 1-2 days to find out the source of the issue.

Thank you for your patience.


Note, though, that automated emailing systems typically use the plural pronouns like “us” or “we” instead of “me” or “I” to convey a more collaborative effort toward the addressee.

But, of course, you must make use of singular pronouns if the other party is aware that you are corresponding with him or her directly, especially if you are personally connected to the person.


2. I would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience I caused.

This next expression roughly equates to “Hey, I’m really sorry for the trouble. What can I do to make things right?” in more casual contexts.

A little less formal than “Please allow me to express my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience that I have caused,” this is a great choice for slightly less unpleasant issues.

You may use “I would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience,” for example, when you are writing an apology letter for being disrespectful in a workplace setting.

As part of the resolution procedure, you may also have to discuss the conflict through an actual conversation with the other party, together with a superior.

Here’s an example of how that might come about:

Dear Sloane Scott:

I am writing to express my guilt over my inappropriate behavior last August 20th. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience I caused when I raised my voice over your opinion during the meeting last week.

From now onwards, I promise to convey any objections and opinions more professionally. I hope we can start over again and move ahead from here.


If you are unaware of the complete name of your addressee, you could also make use of the salutation “Dear Sir or Madam” or its alternatives.


3. I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

This next expression is more or less similar to “I’m sorry for the trouble the situation has caused,” which is focusing more on the situation rather than self-admission.

As this is the case, this becomes slightly less formal than “I would like to sincerely apologize for the inconvenience I caused.”

Using this expression is appropriate if and when it is obvious enough that the problem has been caused by neither interlocutors, but rather the system or another person.

For instance, you can use this after trying swiping a customer’s card twice in a payment terminal, but there seems to be a signal interruption issue on the establishment’s side.

Cashier: I’m really sorry, sir but there seems to be a network connection error on our side. I apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused, but do you happen to have any cash instead?


4. I beg your pardon for the inconvenience.

“I beg your pardon for the inconvenience” suggests a similar meaning as “I’d like to ask for forgiveness for the trouble that occurred.”

This expression bears an eloquent connotation because of the French and Latin origins of the word “pardon,” and thus, it works well when you want to somewhat leave an emotional impression on the addressee.

Perhaps, you are dining in a five-star and your waiter seems to be a bit “in the way” with you. You are also not in the mood for any expensive food recommendations, but the waiter kept going to the point that you reached your breaking point.

You asked for the manager silently and explained your concern as calmly as possible. The manager may then respond along the lines of the following:

Manager: I beg your pardon for the inconvenience, Madam. We appreciate your honest feedback. We will do our best to improve our services so this will not happen again.


5. Please forgive me for any trouble I’ve done. 

“Please forgive me for any trouble I’ve done” is tantamount to “I hope you’ll accept my apologies for any problem I’ve brought.”

Not only is this expression polite, but it also conveys the connotation that the offender is admitting the mistake outright and seeking to regain the relationship that his or her actions might have tainted.

You may use this expression when you are aware that you have deliberately caused some burden toward another person or when the turn of events has suddenly gone beyond your control.

Say, for instance, your unsober ex-boyfriend crashed your sister-in-law’s anniversary party because of some unresolved personal issues between the two of you.

Although this is indirectly your fault, you still need to take full responsibility for what happened because if not for your connection with the guy, your sister wouldn’t have to bear any degree of humiliation at all.

You: Hey, Anna. Please forgive me for any trouble I’ve done tonight. I never expected this would happen, and I feel terrible about it.


6. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience.

Now, since we’re getting more and more casual, “I’m really sorry for the inconvenience” is something you would notice more in fairly casual spoken conversations.

This one works in situations that are not necessarily too complicated or unresolvable yet still requiring a decent amount of tact and civility.

For example, you can use this in apologizing to a customer after realizing that you have mistakenly served the wrong food which was supposed to be given to the adjacent table.

You have to be able to act as quickly as possible, though, because not all customers would be keen on paying for something they did not order, especially after they’ve already touched the food.

Waiter: Excuse me, ma’am. I’m afraid I have just served you the wrong food. I hope you don’t mind me taking this to the next table. I’m really sorry for the inconvenience.


7. Please excuse me for what happened.

The prepositional phrase “for what happened” suggests a rather vague connotation, which is a common characteristic of casual language use.

Therefore, “Please excuse me for what happened” is a great choice when it comes to spoken apologies in which repeating the exact source of the trouble becomes irrelevant.

In particular, you may use this, for instance, when a relatively new neighbor visits your house and your kids suddenly start fighting in front of your visitors.

After you’ve calmed the kids down and solved their issues, you can politely apologize to your neighbors for what happened.

You: Please excuse me for what happened. My kids actually fight all the time. As they say, boys will be boys.


8. I apologize for bothering you.

“I apologize for bothering you” is something you would likely say before interrupting a person in order to ask for a question or favor.

Or, you may also use it after you have accidentally interrupted a conversation or activity that is going on, such as a meeting or a class.

Here’s how that might sound before asking a favor or question:

You: I apologize for bothering you, sir, but do you happen to know which road goes to Flathead Lake?

And here’s how that goes after interrupting something:

You: Excuse, me, Mr. Bolton. Someone’s look– Oh, I apologize for bothering you, sir. I didn’t realize you’re in a virtual meeting.


9. My fault. Sorry for the trouble.

When you use the expression “My fault. Sorry for the trouble,” it implies that you may have caused an inconsequential offense to the other party.

In addition, the casual tonality of this alternative suggests an intimate or close relationship with the message receiver.

This can be observed in the truncation or shortening of the two sentences which are supposed to be “It was my fault. I am sorry for the trouble.”

Feel free to use this expression when you have incorrectly forwarded a file to your colleague sitting at the next desk or after buying the wrong coffee variant for your best friend.

Colleague: Hey, Tim. I think I received the wrong file.

You: My fault. Sorry for the trouble. Sending the right one now.

In workplace scenarios, there are some expressions that you would have to repeatedly use especially when attaching files in email correspondence.

Hence, you may also refer to the meaning and alternatives of “Please find attached” to increase your linguistic elasticity.


10. Sorry for what happened.

An even more casual alternative than “My fault. Sorry for the trouble,” “Sorry for what happened” is a good choice for an issue that is even less significant than workplace human errors.

You can use “Sorry for what happened” when you are talking to one of your dearest friends whom you promised to call for some trivial reason.

Here’s what you might say in this situation:

You: Hey, Shawn. Sorry for what happened yesterday. I got so busy at work that I totally forgot to call you. What are you up to today?

Apparently, your friend’s response would also be dependent on how serious or minor your offense is.

So, if you forgot to call him the day before when he was actually seeking help for an emergency, then you should do a better and more formal apology.


11. Sorry for that.

Another casual and simple alternative to “I apologize for the inconvenience” is something as short as “Sorry for that.”

You may use this in incidental offenses that could happen every single day to every person, such as slightly bumping into another person in the subway.

So long that do not hurt the person badly or drop something that he or she is holding, this expression should suffice:

You: Oh, I didn’t mean to bump into you. Sorry for that.

Or, you could just leave the first sentence out and use “Sorry for that” right away. Remember that it is always more ethical to express an apology no matter how little you’ve physically hurt the person.


12. My bad. Sorry.

Lastly, “My bad. Sorry” is an expression you can casually use to take responsibility for a petty mistake to a stranger or anyone close enough who wouldn’t get offended without the formalities.

Saying “My bad” suggests that you are straightforwardly acknowledging that your behavior or attitude is the source of the trouble.

For example, you can do this when you were unable to clearly hear and understand what the other person was saying because of inattention.

Of course, you also have to consider using this expression only with close people like friends, classmates, close colleagues, and family members.

Your friend: Hey! You weren’t listening to me.

You: My bad. Sorry. What was that again?


Bonus: Other formal alternatives to “I apologize for the inconvenience”


I sincerely apologize for the confusion and inconvenience.

“I sincerely apologize for the confusion and inconvenience” is a statement that communicates two separate meanings.

The first object of the apology enacted is directed towards the confusion, while the second is intended for the inconvenience.

You may use this particular statement if the event somehow caused both confusion and inconvenience to the addressee.

This may happen, for instance, after sending an incorrect file to a person, and this file has been forwarded to another person, which then needs further reconciliation.

Here’s an example of how to apologize using the described statement:

Dear Calvin,

I sincerely apologize for the confusion and inconvenience caused by the incorrect file I sent to you yesterday. It was an honest mistake, and I understand how and why this has caused you trouble.

Kindly refer to the attachment below for the file that you originally requested:





I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Meanwhile, “I apologize for any inconvenience caused” is something that you might have to use in less critical cases.

The usage of the determiner “any” in the statement indicates some degree of uncertainty about whether a form of inconvenience did take place.

This expression also communicates tact and politeness in the sense that you are intending to extend your apology despite the uncertainty.

You may use this, for example, when you are confident enough that the issue is relatively trivial, thereby causing minor inconvenience towards the addressee.

This expression may also be utilized when you did not necessarily intend to cause trouble toward the person.

Here’s an example for your reference:

Dear Sally,

Thank you for your response. I apologize for any inconvenience caused by the message I wrongly sent to your inbox. That one was actually intended for my sister. You have similar first names, so I must have incorrectly encoded the wrong keyword when I sent you the email.

Thank you once again for letting me know.

Kind regards,



I would like to apologize for the distraction.

A distraction is also a more specific form of inconvenience; hence, you may also directly indicate that you apologize for the distraction instead of the inconvenience.

A distraction is any form of interruption that prevents someone from fully attending to other people or activities.

You may use this statement, for instance, after indiscriminately getting into a meeting room that is being used by other people.

As this situation may commonly happen in any business setting, a verbal apology is oftentimes enough.

But, if you wish, to make your apology more formal, you can simply write a short email message to your target addressee, just like the following:

Dear Mr. Cole,

My name is Trisha Ricci, and I am a new staff of the accounting department. I am sending this email because I would like to apologize for the distraction I’ve caused earlier. I unknowingly barged into your meeting room, and I may have caused you some inconvenience for that.

Again, I apologize for the distraction. I will be more careful next time.




Frequently Asked Questions on “I apologize for the inconvenience”


How do you apologize professionally?

The best way to apologize professionally is to write a formal letter or email detailing the offense made, as well as the action plan that you are willing to take to prevent the same mistake from happening. You can start with a formal statement like this: I would like to express my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience I have caused.


Is saying “sorry for the inconvenience” rude?

If the offense made is clearly unintentional, saying you are sorry for the inconvenience is definitely ethical and is the right thing to do. If the context says otherwise, then the behavior would be considered pretentious in the least rather than rude. 


How do you say you’re sorry for the inconvenience without apologizing?

Instead of apologizing, you can focus on appreciating the other person’s capacity to understand the situation instead. Or, you can simply focus on an action plan that would prevent such offense or mistake from happening again.



One of the largest purposes of our linguistic fluency is to maintain the social harmony that holds societies together, just like how gravity works.

Even though it might be harder to express an apology most of the time, we have to remember that it is as equally vital as being able to convey gratitude.

Also, always bear in mind that an apology has three parts: “I am sorry,” “It’s my fault,” and “Please allow me to make things right.”