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  1. #1
    phorntita's Avatar
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    Default I'm sorry/Excuse me

    I wonder whether "I'm sorry" can be interchangeable to "Excuse me" in someway.
    When I was little in elementary school I remembered my English teacher taught me that we tend to use "I'm sorry"to make an apology to other people with a situation that we've done it already just like when we trod on sb toe .
    -Ouch! you trod on my toe. then we said "Oh! I'm sorry"
    But when we want to make an apology before bothering people to do sth we'll use"Excuse me"instead.
    Excuse me, could you move a little,please?
    Did I get it right? Please.

  2. #2
    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    I wonder whether "I'm sorry" can be interchangeable to "Excuse me" in someway.
    When I was little in elementary school I remembered my English teacher taught me that we tend to use "I'm sorry"to make an apology to other people with a situation that we've done it already just like when we trod on sb toe .
    -Ouch! you trod on my toe. then we said "Oh! I'm sorry"
    But when we want to make an apology before bothering people to do sth we'll use"Excuse me"instead.
    Excuse me, could you move a little,please?
    Did I get it right? Please.
    You are absolutely right. However, excuse me is a polite way of attracting the attention, especially of someone you don't know:
    Excuse me, does this train go to Paris?
    Similarly, I am sorry is used to express feeling of sadness, sympathy, or disappointment:
    I'm sorry (that) you had such a difficult journey.

  3. #3
    phorntita's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by sarat_106 View Post
    You are absolutely right. However, excuse me is a polite way of attracting the attention, especially of someone you don't know:
    Excuse me, does this train go to Paris?
    Similarly, I am sorry is used to express feeling of sadness, sympathy, or disappointment:
    I'm sorry (that) you had such a difficult journey.
    So, we tend not to use " I'm sorry" with the ones we don't know.

  4. #4
    Dawood Usmani's Avatar
    Dawood Usmani is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    So, we tend not to use " I'm sorry" with the ones we don't know.
    We also use (I'm) sorry when we want someone to repeat what they have just said e.g. Sorry! Who is my enemy?
    Hope this helps!

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    phorntita's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Actually I'm a bit confused cos' both has the same meaning in my language.
    Ex. I'm sorry, what's your last name again?
    Why don't we use "Excuse me" here?

    Any ideas from anyone?
    Last edited by phorntita; 28-Aug-2009 at 16:23.

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    sarat_106 is offline Key Member
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    Exclamation Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    So, we tend not to use " I'm sorry" with the ones we don't know. Yes
    Yes. You can use 'Excuse me' in the example sentence of dawoodusmani in place of "I am sorry". But can you use "I am sorry" in place of "Excuse me" in this sentece?: Excuse me, does this train go to Paris?
    That is why I agreed with your original post where you stated that: "I'm sorry" can be interchangeable to "Excuse me" in someway.
    So I said right and cited two situations where they are not interchangeable. You can not use execuse me to express feeling of sadness, sympathy, or disappointment for some one near or known to you.

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    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    When I was little in elementary school I remembered my English teacher taught me that we tend to use "I'm sorry"to make an apology to other people with a situation that we've done it already just like when we trod on sb toe .
    -Ouch! you trod on my toe. then we said "Oh! I'm sorry"
    But when we want to make an apology before bothering people to do sth we'll use"Excuse me"instead.
    Excuse me, could you move a little,please?
    You are completely right here. This idea is correct and is an interesting one.
    I will use it next time I teach this subject. Thank you.

  8. #8
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    So, we tend not to use " I'm sorry" with the ones we don't know.
    No, that is not the point. You may use both of them with both the ones you know and the ones you don't know. It really depends on the situation. Of course both expressions tend to be polite. I think English is a polite language, and the use of these expressions should be encouraged by the teacher.

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    Actually I'm a bit confused cos' both has the same meaning in my language.
    Ex. I'm sorry, what's your last name again?
    Why don't we use "Excuse me" here?

    Any ideas from anyone?
    Trying to be somewhat literal:
    I am sorry = I regret (what I have done) = I am sad
    Excuse me = Let me = Woud you please excuse me

    When you say 'I'm sorry, what's your last name again?' the idea is: I am sad because I don't remember your name.

    You could certainly say 'Excuse me, what's your last name again?', but here, as sara_106 said above, the 'excuse me' idea is to ask the attention of the listener, a polite way to say: 'Hey, listen: what's your name again?' (this way is not polite, but with 'excuse me' it is).

  9. #9
    phorntita's Avatar
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by ymnisky View Post
    No, that is not the point. You may use both of them with both the ones you know and the ones you don't know. It really depends on the situation. Of course both expressions tend to be polite. I think English is a polite language, and the use of these expressions should be encouraged by the teacher.



    Trying to be somewhat literal:
    I am sorry = I regret (what I have done) = I am sad
    Excuse me = Let me = Woud you please excuse me

    When you say 'I'm sorry, what's your last name again?' the idea is: I am sad because I don't remember your name.

    You could certainly say 'Excuse me, what's your last name again?', but here, as sara_106 said above, the 'excuse me' idea is to ask the attention of the listener, a polite way to say: 'Hey, listen: what's your name again?' (this way is not polite, but with 'excuse me' it is).
    I admire your very delicated understanding of this situation. You're a very good student in this advanced English level of yours, I've to say. Then look at this ex. like this one.
    When a customer & a shop assistant met in one shop and the first started a conversation, she wanted to buy things
    Customer: Excuse me, How much is that dress, please?
    S/a : 1200 baht.(in Thai),ma'am. Would you like to try it on?
    Cus : I'll think about it. Oh! I'm sorry which way to the restroom ,please ?
    S/a : ?

    So you can see that we tend to use Excuse me on first acquaintance people make. But after that they could/ would like to use I'm sorry to express an apology before asking sth from the same person again without any doubt about it.
    Then, what's your idea this time?
    Last edited by phorntita; 29-Aug-2009 at 03:31.

  10. #10
    Abstract Idea is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: I'm sorry/Excuse me

    Quote Originally Posted by phorntita View Post
    Customer: Excuse me, How much is that dress, please?
    The 'excuse me' above should be used only if the customer has not already the S/a total attention. For example if the S/a happens to be looking at somewhere else or seems to be worried about something else.
    Generally the S/a is the one who should begin asking something like "Good afternoon, ma'am. May I help you?" or something like that.

    S/a : 1200 baht.(in Thai),ma'am. Would you like to try it on?
    Cus : I'll think about it. Oh! I'm sorry which way to the restroom ,please ?
    S/a : ?
    The situation above is not very common. If the customer only wants to change the subject, maybe 'by the way' could be better here.
    The 'I'm sorry' above only applies if the customer suddenly finds herself on a emergency situation which she needs desperately to go to the restroom.
    If that is the situation, the customer apologizes herself, meaning something like that:
    "I'm sorry, where is the restroom, please?" = "I am very sad, but unfortunately I won't be able to continue this conversation, because I need to go immediatelly to the restroom"


    So you can see that we tend to use Excuse me on first acquaintance people make. But after that they could/ would like to use I'm sorry to express an apology before asking sth from the same person again without any doubt about it.
    Then, what's your idea this time?
    I guess you are asking something about statistics - whether "Excuse me" is an expression usually followed by "I'm sorry". I do not know such answer.
    Maybe someone else could say something.

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