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How to Say “Sorry” in Russian

There are plenty of situations when you need to say “I’m sorry.” Whether you make a mistake or just run into someone, you may need to apologize. Today, we explore how to say “I’m sorry” in Russian.

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Basic Expressions

The most common way to apologize is to say “извини” (izvinì) or “прости” (prostì).

  • I’m sorry I didn’t call you yesterday.

  • Извини, что не позвонил вчера. (Izvini, shto ne pozvonil vchera.)

  • I’m sorry I forgot to tell you.

  • Прости, что забыл сказать тебе. (Prosti, shto zabyl skazat’ tebe.)

These forms are used in informal situations. If you address a person who is older or a stranger, you will need to say “извините” (izvinìte) and “простите” (prostìte).

  • I’m sorry I’m late.

  • Извините за опоздание. (Izvinite za opozdanie.)

  • I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.

  • Простите, я не хотел. (Prostite, ya ne khotel.)

To sound even more polite, you can simply add the word “пожалуйста” (pozhaluista).

  • Please forgive me.

  • Пожалуйста, прости меня. (Pozhaluista, prosti menya.)

The same two words can be used if you ask someone for help or for directions. In this case, they replace the English phrase “Excuse me.”

  • Excuse me, could you please help me?

  • Извините, не могли бы вы мне помочь? (Izvinite, ne mogli by Vy mne pomoch’?)

  • Excuse me, how do I get to the city center?

  • Извините, как мне добраться до центра города?(Izvinite, kak mne dobrat’sya do tsentra goroda?)

There is another way to apologize in Russian. It’s “мне жаль” (mne zhal’). You can use it when you want to express some sympathy.

  • I’m sorry this happened.

  • Мне жаль, что это случилось. (Mne zhal’, shto eto sluchilos’.)

Formal Phrases

There are two more phrases people use in formal situations to say “I’m sorry” in Russian. They are “прошу прощения” (prashu proscheniya) and “приношу свои извинения” (prinoshu svoì izvineniya).

The phrase “прошу прощения” is a synonym of “извини” (“прости”).

  • I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

  • Прошу прощения за беспокойство. (Proshu proshcheniya za bespokoistvo.)

“Приношу свои извинения” can be used when you apologize on behalf of someone else, as in a business situation.

  • The airline apologizes for the delayed flight.

  • Авиакомпания приносит свои извинения за задержку рейса. (Aviakompaniya prinosit svoi izvineniya za zaderzhku reisa.)

Don’t worry if you forget all these words and phrases. You can also use the English word “sorry,” which is widely used by the younger generation in everyday speech.

There are many more words and phrases to say “I’m sorry” in Russian, but these are the basics. To practice or to study some other useful vocabulary, learn Russian with a tutor.

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