“In the sun, in the sun, I feel as one…” – did this particular song line from Nirvana cross your mind upon seeing the title of our post?
Well, close enough. Actually, the ever-famous grunge song from the nineties is titled “All Apologies” and not “My Apologies.”
Don’t worry, though, because these two expressions are, indeed, closely related to each other. But today, we’ll focus more on the nitty-gritty of the English phrase “My Apologies.”
Why don’t we begin with a quick answer?
What does “my apologies” mean?
“My apologies” is a polite and formal expression that means “I am sorry” or “I apologize (for what happened).” As it bears formalistic connotation, it is best to reserve “my apologies” in business correspondence, such as in email writing, rather than in casual conversations with friends and kins.
The usage of “my apologies” in context
Language can be both witty and ambiguous at the same time. True enough, it is rather common to get confused with what an expression exactly means without proper context.
Without considering anything else, “my apologies” is simply an expression used for apologizing to somebody we believe we’ve wronged.
More particularly, though, it is equivalent to saying “I apologize for the inconvenience” or its alternatives when used in actual scenarios.
When someone tries to express language this way, we would typically assume that the person is attempting to formalize his or her language use.
Although semantically similar, “my apologies” is relatively more formal than “Sorry for the inconvenience” because the latter is already a truncated or shortened version.
The uncut or complete version of this statement is “I am sorry for the inconvenience” which is much closer to “I apologize for the inconvenience.”
The formality level of “my apologies”
In studies related to language and society, it has been repeatedly found that people adjust the type of language they use depending on the communicative purpose and context.
When people discuss matters with the general public or with those who are perceived as authority figures, they tend to use what we refer to as the formal language register.
Formal language entails the use of more complete grammatical construction, clearer or more accurate pronunciation, as well as a consultative tone.
The formal register is crucial in maintaining healthy, professional relationships with the target audience, thereby preventing misperceptions of impoliteness in the process.
This type of register is more common in academic writing and business correspondence than in day-to-day conversations with friends and kins.
To get deeper in terms of the formal register concerning today’s topic, “my apologies” is something we would likely notice in emails or formal spoken interactions.
That is to say, it would be out of sync to hear this expression from a sister, a peer, or a close colleague in a water-cooler talk – not unless done deliberately for the sake of humor.
That said, there are certain ways in which “my apologies” can work properly both in writing and speaking. The next subsection elaborates on these things in detail.
Using “my apologies” appropriately (Usage examples)
As “my apologies” is a formal expression, we cannot conveniently use it as we wish because doing so would inadvertently result in a phenomenon called “register clash.”
For instance, it would be undesirable to say “my apologies” after extremely trivial events, such as incorrectly sending a non-confidential message to a close friend.
A simple “sorry for that,” “that was meant for someone else,” or “I didn’t mean to send that” would suffice in this kind of situation.
However, it would be more suitable to use “my apologies” in a work-related email to someone who we regard either as a distant person or an authority figure.
In cases like this, a succeeding explanation would also benefit the email sender more because it prevents confusion on the end of the recipient.
The message content of an incorrectly sent email may look as follows:
Dear Ms. Jamie,
My apologies to you for the wrongly sent email, Ma’am.
Please ignore my last email message as it was meant for Ms. Jannie of the marketing department instead. I have incorrectly encoded your email address instead of hers.
Again, I apologize for the mistake and confusion.
“My apologies” is appropriate in the example above because the context is professional, and the recipient is also someone from work.
Meanwhile, we may also respond to an apology email like the one above by simply acknowledging or confirming understanding of the email message.
A quick email response like “this is acknowledged” followed by “thank you for reaching out to me” would be appropriate and sufficient.
“My apology” vs. “my apologies”
In direct speeches or those statements spoken or written directly toward an addressee, “my apologies” is the right choice. This concept is otherwise known as “direct address.”
In writing, direct addresses are also commonly marked by the presence of quotation marks around the statement.
For example, we can say “my apologies” if we want to directly apologize to another individual for doing something wrong.
However, “my apology” is used when the text or utterance is indirectly intended for a person. In other words, “my apology” is generally used in reported or indirect speeches.
For instance, we can use “my apology” in describing a remorseful or regretful event that happened in the past, such as in the next examples:
In a nutshell, “my apologies” is most likely what one would use in actual language practice instead of “my apology,” particularly if the apology is directly intended for another person or party.
Synonyms for “my apologies”
Evidently enough, “my apologies” also be expressed in several other ways. Hence, listed below are some of the most typical synonyms for “my apologies.”
One way to say “my apologies” is “I apologize” – this expression makes use of the most typical structure in English grammar which is the subject-verb order.
Oftentimes, “I apologize” is followed by a prepositional phrase that serves as a succeeding explanation for whatever is being apologized by the speaker or writer.
Another synonym for “my apologies” is “pardon me” which is of French origin. “Pardon me” is also usually followed by an explanatory clause or phrase afterward.
In actual scenarios, “pardon me” contains a highly formalistic connotation and is only common in books or movies rather than regular correspondence.
“Excuse me” is also a polite expression synonymous with “my apologies.” This one is typically used when cautiously interrupting someone who is talking or doing something else.
I am sorry
“I am sorry” also bears the same meaning as “my apologies.” This expression is more widely used than “my apologies” as this can also be used in most contexts.
The connotation of “I am sorry” may slightly be reduced by contracting the subject “I” and the linking verb “am,” thereby forming “I’m sorry” instead.
Last but not least is the expression “forgive me,” which meanwhile contains a more formal connotation than “I am sorry.”
The formality level of “forgive me” is relatively close to “my apologies” and, therefore, it is best to reserve this expression in formal and literary contexts.
Example statements containing “my apologies”
Apart from the situation explained in this subsection, other circumstances may entail the use of “my apologies.”
“My apologies” can either stand alone as an expression, or it may also be a part of a longer statement. Most of the time, it is followed by a prepositional phrase starting with “for.”
Let us go over each of them below.
My apologies for the inconvenience.
“My apologies for the inconvenience” is likely used in formal situations wherein the target recipient is deemed as a person of influence, such as an existing or prospective client.
This statement can be used, for example, when a client has been incorrectly billed, thereby causing some unexpected commotion in the process.
Dear Ms. Jane Patterson,
My apologies for the inconvenience. I have incorrectly sent you the bill for the previous month.
Kindly ignore my last email and refer to the attachment below for the correct one.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
My apologies for the late response.
Meanwhile, “my apologies for the late response” would likely be sent by someone who has not been able to respond to an email message within an expected amount of time.
This may happen after two days or more of not being able to reply to a particular email, especially if the content is important.
Dear Ms. Anna,
My apologies for the late response. I have been on sick leave for a few days, which is why I haven’t been able to get back to you immediately.
Thank you for the update on the progress of your training. I have already endorsed you to the next personnel-in-charge, Ms. Alison Reese. Kindly wait for further instructions via email from her.
My apologies for the delay.
In addition, “my apologies for the delay” could be seen in product shipment-related email updates.
For instance, this could happen when a parcel is to be delivered beyond the originally estimated amount of time for some reason.
Dear Valued Customer,
My apologies for the delay in the delivery of your parcel with the tracking number 78JF993X. There have been some issues in the warehouse which caused the unexpected delay with over a hundred parcels.
Please know that your order will arrive between Monday to Wednesday next week.
My apologies for the late submission.
Finally, “my apologies for the late submission” is likely sent by a student who has failed to meet the submission deadlines set by the professor.
This may happen, for instance, if the professor has previously instructed the student to send the requirement via email instead of the learning management system used by the institution.
Dear Miss Davis,
My apologies for the late submission of my class report. I had originally sent the file on the learning management site before the due date, yet I didn’t realize that the upload was unsuccessful.
Please see attached file for my PowerPoint presentation.
Frequently Asked Questions on “The meaning of ‘My Apologies’”
How can we use “my apologies” in a sentence?
“My apologies” can either work alone or be followed by a prepositional phrase that aims to refer to the situation. For example, the statement “my apologies for the confusion” may be used after sending an incomplete set of instructions to someone.
What does “my sincere apologies” mean?
“My sincere apologies” is an expression that aims to convey genuine politeness to the message recipient. It is synonymous with “I am apologizing with utmost sincerity for what happened.”
What is the difference between “apologies” and “apologize”?
“Apologies” is the plural form of the noun “apology,” whereas “apologize” is its verb form. “Apologies” is often preceded with the determiner “my,” but “apologize” is usually preceded with the subject pronoun “I.”
Whether the mistake is serious or trivial, apologizing to the wronged party is mandatory – it is needless to say that the apology has to be done sincerely.
Doing this simple act through the help of language is utterly crucial because it keeps the society harmonious and conflict-free.
Join us again next time for more interesting language-related discussions. See you!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.