The most common and simple way to say sorry in Chinese
Sorry is an apology used to express regret and sympathy modestly and politely. We not only say sorry when we’ve made a mistake but also express our sympathy (“I’m sorry to hear that.”) or get someone’s attention (“Sorry to bother you.”). China is a highly civilized country. Apologizing plays an important role in Chinese culture. "Sorry" is translated into Chinese as 对不起 [duì bù qǐ]. Here to learn "How To Say Sorry In Chinese?".
对不起 [duì bù qǐ]-the most popular phrase for saying sorry in Chinese. It conveys the strongest degree of apology. So it only be used in situations where you are truly feeling regretted and want to ask for forgiveness. For example: 对不起，我弄坏了你的自行车。 duì bù qǐ ，wǒ nòng huài le nǐ de zì xíng chē 。 I’m sorry, I broke your bike.
Other phrases to express sorry in Chinese
对不起 [duì bù qǐ] is the most common way to express "sorry" in Chinese, but not the only way to express apologies. There are some other ways to express apologies in Chinese.
不好意思 [bù hǎo yì si] -“Sorry about that”, is used as a milder way to say “sorry” in Chinese. It’s used to apologize for minor offenses or mistakes, such as when you forget something or need to change an appointment.
For example: 不好意思，让大家久等了。 bù hǎo yì sī ，ràng dà jiā jiǔ děng le 。 Sorry I kept you waiting. Additionally, 不好意思[bù hǎo yì si] is a polite way to get someone’s attention, similar to “Excuse me…” in English. For example: 不好意思，让一下可以吗？ bù hǎo yì sī ，ràng yí xià kě yǐ ma ？ Sorry, would you mind stepping aside?
抱歉 [bào qiàn]- “I sincerely apologize.” It is one of the most common ways to say sorry in Mandarin Chinese. You can use it when expressing how sorry you feel for someone. And you can use this phrase in most situations, whether speaking with your boss or your best friend.
道歉 [dào qiàn]- “to apologize” “to say sorry” For example: 我是来向你道歉的。 wǒ shì lái xiàng nǐ dào qiàn de 。 I’m here to say sorry to you.
都是我的错 [dōu shì wǒ de cuò]-“It’s my fault” “It’s my mistake”, is used to admit one’s faults. In other words, use this phrase to take the blame for something that’s gone wrong.
我错了 [wǒ cuò le] — “I was wrong”. Similar to 是我的错[shì wǒ de cuò]. Use the phrase when you realize you’ve made a mistake.
是我不对 [shì wǒ bú duì] -This phrase literally means “I was not correct” and is used in similar situations as 我错了 [wǒ cuò le] and 是我的错 [shì wǒ de cuò], and is used to express feeling regretful or guilty for making a mistake big or small. Therefore, if you want to make up with someone after an argument, begin your apology in Chinese with 是我不对 [shì wǒ bú duì] “I was wrong”.
打扰了 [dǎ rǎo le] or 劳驾 [láo jià] -“sorry to disturb you.” In English, they are often translated simply as “Excuse me.” Use these phrases when you need help.
For example: 打扰了，能帮一下我么？ dǎ rǎo le ，néng bāng yí xià wǒ me ？ Sorry, can you give me a hand.
我不是故意的 [wǒ bú shì gù yì de] -“I didn’t do it on purpose”.“I didn’t mean to”. It can be used if you want to apologize in Chinese for something accidental.
nǐ bǎ wǒ de bēi zǐ shuāi pò le。
You break my cup.
duì bù qǐ，wǒ bú shì gù yì de。
Sorry. I didn’t mean to.
请见谅 [qǐng jiàn liàng]- “Please forgive me.” It is a more modest expression among all the apology words. Generally, it means that you feel that something is not done well enough and hope to get the understanding and forgiveness from other people. For example: 请见谅，我的中文不太好。 qǐng jiàn liàng ，wǒ de zhōng wén bú tài hǎo 。 Sorry, my Chinese is not good.
赔礼道歉 [péi lǐ dào qiàn]-In Chinese, it is a set phrase that means “to make a formal apology.” This is a sincere way to apologize in Chinese, used mainly in formal situations and only when your actions have had a severe negative effect.
For example: 你把你的同学推倒了，你应该跟他赔礼道歉。 nǐ bǎ nǐ de tóng xué tuī dǎo le ，nǐ yīng gāi gēn tā péi lǐ dào qiàn 。 You pushed your classmate down, so you should make a formal apology to him.
Other common phrases or sentences saying sorry in ancient China