If you’ve done something wrong, it may be time for you to make amends and say “I’m sorry.” Depending on the circumstances, you may feel it is more appropriate to write a note or letter of apology than to give a verbal apology.
But what is the correct way to apologize to someone in writing?
Should you say “my apology” or “my apologies”?
What Do These Phrases Mean?
Generally speaking, both of these terms mean the same thing. They both refer to the action of accepting blame for a mistake or wrongdoing.
However, they may be used in different contexts or expressions.
Both words originate from the Greek word, apologia, which means “a speech of defense.” In contrast to this idea of defense, most modern-day apologies tend to be an expression of sorrow or condolences.
Using “My Apologies” vs. “My Apology”
“My apologies” can be used as a direct substitute for “I’m sorry” when you’ve done something wrong and want to express regret or remorse about it.
- My apologies, there were traffic delays while I was en route to the event.
- My sincere apologies, I did not mean to upset you.
“My apology” is typically is used as a noun and to refer to a previous apology.
- We resolved our disagreement and she accepted my apology.
- The man bumped into me without apology. (Here, “apology” is used as a noncount noun)
Should You Use Them in a Business Email?
Although it is usually never a comfortable situation to let someone know that you made a mistake, using these condolences is a great way to foster and protect professional relationships. Luckily, both versions tend to be flexible in their usage, meaning they are applicable if you are speaking in a very casual way or a very formal way!
In the end, adding a quick message of condolences when it is needed is a great way to let your coworkers know that you are sorry. Be sure however that you make your apology heartfelt and sincere!
British English vs. American English
The root word for both terms is apologize. . . or is it apologise? Well, the correct answer is both!
The basic root differs in spelling depending on which dialect is used. Generally, the American spelling is apologize, while the British spelling is apologise.
Don’t stress out too much though, even if you use the wrong dialect spelling, most native English speakers should be able to understand what you mean!
Here are a few more example sentences to help increase your understanding of these phrases:
- I gave a great explanation, but they only mentioned my apology.
- I want to extend my apologies for the late response!
- My apologies, I am stuck at the office and will be late to dinner.
Related: Should you ignore or acknowledge a brief “I’m sorry”? Read this article to hear the outtake.