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When do you use "lo siento" as compared to "perdon"?


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Lo siento is more often used to have a more sensitive, or empathic feeling (in some cases) towards things. It's like when someone died and you say something like "I'm sorry (for your loss)". It's basically used for serious stuff. Perdon is something like "Pardon me" when you bump to someone and other minor things like that.

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I was taught that "lo siento" is "I'm sorry" so that's what I always tend to use in the same way I'd use it in any English context, though I'm not sure that's 100% right. I took a semester of French in college as a filler class and it totally killed my Spanish accent - half of what I say in Spanish now sounds French - and "perdon" is one of those words where it seems to stick, so I try to avoid using that anyway.

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Yes, altrouge is basically correct.

'Lo siento' literally translates to 'I feel it', so that can be a good rule of thumb to remember the difference. If you what you want to convey is "excuse me" then go with "perdon".

I saw a good description of this a few years go along the lines of "If you're trying to get past someone in your row of seats at the movies you say 'perdon', but if you then step on their toes while doing so, you say 'lo siento'!"

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To put it in basic terms, lo siento is used for more personal situations like a loss of a loved on or a personal fault, basically a very sincere and personal apology. Perdon can be used more informally and casually, like bumping into someone in public, a casual accident, or coughing / sneezing in public sort of situations.

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  • 3 weeks later...

After years of being told that "lo siento" was the way to go when apologizing, I've only recently found out that it should typically be "perdon" instead. Except, as others have already stated, when it's for something like a death in the family. Annoying.

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  • 4 months later...

I learned saying "perdon" or "permisso" would be appropriate, similar to saying "excuse me" when bumping into someone in a crowd. "Lo siento" is saying "I'm sorry" as a feeling response to some error or situation. I always remember this because the word siento is derived from the word "to feel" so when you say this to someone in a situation it's like you're saying "I feel ya". You are showing empathy as someone else said. You wouldn't say this to get through a crowd.

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"perdon" is used more often to say "Excuse me" or something similar when trying to be polite in passing or when what your sorry about is a minor thing. "lo siento" is usually used in more serious cases like when there's a tragedy or your truly about something very bad you've done. I believe it's also used at funerals to claim sorriness for a loss of a loved one.

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On 10/29/2015, 9:44:23, czarina84 said:

So, basically, "lo siento" means "I'm sorry", as in a terrible grievance has occurred, and "perdon" is the equivalent of "excuse me"?   How would you say, "I'm sorry for your loss"?

I've heard it said as "lo siento tu pérdida" as well as "lo siento por su pérdida". The second one appears to be more formal due to the use of "su" rather than "tu". However, I'm not too sure if the "por" was dropped in the first sentence or if it isn't completely necessary.

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No, you shouldn't use "lo siento tu pérdida" because is grammatically incorrect, but it should be "lo siento por tu perdida"  (if addressed to someone you are familiar with) or "lo siento por su pérdida", when you are talking to someone who is not in you close relationship circle, or someone with an authority or elderly rank.

Nonetheless, it is more common in a native speaking context to say, "lamento (to be sorrow) mucho su muerte (o su pérdida)"  or "le ofrezco mis más sinceras condolencias" (my deepest condolence if not simply "lo siento mucho" (I'm so sorry about)

"Lo siento" (I'm sorry), "Lamento" (I'm sorrow), and "Me Apena" (it saddens me) are usually exchangeable starting words to express condolences.

 

 

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17 hours ago, OmniHead said:

No, you shouldn't use "lo siento tu pérdida" because is grammatically incorrect

Thank you for posting about this. I was a bit confused because I would directly translate that phrase as "I'm sorry your death/loss", but I could never pick out the "por" in the sentence. Because it's only been used between close friends and I've only heard it said by a young demographic, they may have just dropped the "por" because they knew the phrase would still be understandable between them.

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