Everyone makes mistakes, especially when interacting in a new language. It’s what you do after a blunder that makes a difference.
And if you’re learning Italian, knowing how to say sorry in Italian is an important skill to have. It’ll help you mend, maintain, and strengthen personal and professional relationships and restore trust when you’ve done something wrong intentionally or accidentally.
Depending on the situation and who we are speaking to, though, the way we apologize changes. If you want to fit in, avoid awkward moments, and navigate social situations with ease, you’ll have to learn the difference between scusa, mi dispiace, perdonami, and everything in between.
Keep reading to learn all the essential elements of saying sorry in Italian, both at work and in your daily life, how to use the phrase correctly, and resolve mistakes gracefully and with confidence.
How to say I’m sorry in Italian
Emotionally speaking, saying sorry can be challenging, even when you genuinely regret making a mistake. You want to express remorse for something you’ve done and make amends, but you might feel unsure about how. You might also worry about using the wrong type of apology and making matters even worse.
Learning how to say sorry in Italian isn’t actually just a matter of rote vocabulary. You need to understand culture, too. In this post, you get both! In English, “sorry” is kind of a catch-all term to use in almost any situation. Italian has no such one-size-fits-all, and you need to use different expressions depending on the context. To successfully interact socially in Italy, then, it’s essential to use the right words and phrases at the right time. We’re here to help. Let’s get to it now!
How to say sorry to someone you have hurt
There are many different ways to form apologies in Italian. Let’s start with the basic vocabulary and sentence patterns you need to know to apologize in Italian for having hurt someone through your behavior, words, or actions, whether what you did was on purpose or by accident.
Read through the list, and pronounce every phrase aloud to practice your pronunciation.
|My apologies.||Chiedo scusa.||[kjˈedo skˈuza]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah||All purpose|
|I’m truly sorry.||Scusami tanto.||[skˈuzamɪ tˈanto]||skuh-sah-mee tan-toh||Informal|
|I’m sorry. I didn't mean that.||Scusami, non volevo.||[skˈuzamɪ nˈon volˈɛvo]||skuh-sah-mee non voh-leh-voh||Informal|
|I owe you an apology.||Ti devo delle scuse.||[tˈi dˈɛvo dˈelle skˈuze]||tee deh-voh del-eh scuhs-eh||Informal|
|I apologize from the bottom of my heart.||Ti chiedo scusa dal profondo del cuore.||[tˈi kjˈedo skˈuza dˈal profˈondo dˈel kʊˈɔre]||tee kee-eh-doh skuh-sah dahl proh-fohn-doh dehl kuu-oh-reh||Informal|
|I apologize. That was not my intention.||Mi scuso molto, non era mia intenzione.||[mˈi skˈuzo mˈolto nˈon ˈɛra mˈia intent͡siˈone]||mee skuh-soh mohl-toh nohn ehrah mee-ah een-tehn-tzee-oh-neh||All purpose|
|I was wrong and I apologize.||Ho sbagliato, chiedo scusa.||[ˈɔ zbaʎˈato kjˈedo skˈuza]||oh sbah-wlhee-ah-toh kee-eh-doh skuh-sah||All purpose|
|I feel terrible, I’m so sorry.||Sono mortificato, chiedo scusa. (male)|
Sono mortificata, chiedo scusa. (female)
|[sˈono mortifikˈato kjˈedo skˈuza]|
[sˈono mortifikˈata kjˈedo skˈuza]
|soh-noh mohr-tee-fee-kah-toh kee-eh-doh skuh-sah|
soh-noh mohr-tee-fee-kah-tah kee-eh-doh skuh-sah
|I’m very sorry.||Sono costernato. (male)|
Sono costernata. (female)
|I’m very sorry.||Sono desolato. (male)|
Sono desolata. (female)
|soh-noh deh-soh-lah-tohsoh-noh deh-soh-lah-tah||All purpose|
How to say you are sorry when something bad has happened to someone you care about
When someone you care about has something bad happen to them, or is going through a difficult time, there are things you can say to comfort them, let them know you are sorry, and that you are and will be there for them.
While there’s no way to “fix” their pain, in the table below, you’ll find several examples that will help you make them feel better.
|I’m so sorry.||Mi dispiace.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe]||mee dees-pee-ah-che||All purpose|
|I’m so sorry to hear that.||Mi dispiace molto apprendere questa triste notizia.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe mˈolto apːrˈɛndere kwˈesta trˈiste notˈit͡sia]||mee dees-pee-ah-che mohl-toh ahp-rehn-deh-reh kuehs-tah trees-teh noh-tee-tzee-ah||All purpose|
|I’m sorry that happened to you.||Mi dispiace per l'accaduto.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe pˈer lakːadˈuto]||mee dees-pee-ah-che pehr lahk-ah-doo-toh||All purpose|
|I'm so sorry. Be strong.||Mi dispiace molto. Fatti forza.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe mˈolto fˈatːɪ fˈɔrt͡sa]||mee dees-pee-ah-che mohl-toh fah-tee fohr-tzah||Informal|
|I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you at this difficult moment.||Mi dispiace. Ti sono vicino in questo momento difficile.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe tˈi sˈono vit͡ʃˈino ˈiːn kwˈesto momˈento diffˈit͡ʃile]||mee dees-pee-ah-che tee soh-noh vee-chee-noh een kuehs-toh moh-mehn-toh dee-phee-chee-leh||Informal|
|I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you at this difficult moment.||Mi dispiace. Le sono vicino in questo momento difficile.||[mˈi dispɪˈaːt͡ʃe lˈe sˈono vit͡ʃˈino ˈiːn kwˈesto momˈento diffˈit͡ʃile]||mee dees-pee-ah-che leh soh-noh vee-chee-noh een kuehs-toh moh-mehn-toh dee-phee-chee-leh||Formal|
How to apologize when you bump into someone by accident
Check out the table below to find terms you might apply to strangers you accidentally trip or bump into on a crowded street or in a busy corridor. Use them also when accidentally stepping on someone’s toes, crossing their path with your shopping cart in a supermarket, or if you happen to cough, sneeze or yawn in public.
Remember to use formal “Lei” with strangers, and people much older than you.
|Sorry.||Mi scusi.||[mˈi skˈuzɪ]||mee skuh-see||Formal|
|Oh, sorry.||Oh, scusi.||[ˈoː skˈuzɪ]||oh skuh-see||Formal|
|Oh, sorry.||Oh, scusa.||[ˈoː skˈuza]||oh skuh-sah||Informal|
How to apologize when you want to get past someone blocking the way
When you are walking through a crowded place or a train compartment, or need to get past someone blocking the way, there’s a magic Italian word you can say to politely ask people to move aside (and remember to thank them in Italian when they do).
In Italian, the same expression can also mean “May I come in?”. Smile and say it when crossing the threshold of someone’s house.
|Excuse me.||Permesso.||[permˈes͡so]||pehr-meh-soh||All purpose|
|Excuse me, can I get by?||Permesso, mi scusi.||[permˈes͡so mˈi skˈuzɪ]||pehr-meh-soh mee skuh-see||Formal|
|Excuse me, can I get by please?||Permesso, scusa. Mi faresti passare, per favore?||[permˈes͡so skˈuza mˈi farˈɛstɪ pas͡sˈare, pˈer favˈore]||pehr-meh-soh skuh-sah mee fah-reh-stee pah-sah-reh||Informal|
|May I come in?||Permesso.||[permˈes͡so]||pehr-meh-soh||All purpose|
How to apologize when you need to ask someone to repeat something
Whether you’re talking to a close friend, having a business meeting, or making a video call, there will be many times when you don’t hear or understand something that the other person is saying.
How should you apologize when asking someone to repeat themselves? We’ve gathered some of the most common phrases for you in the table below.
|Excuse me, what did you say?||Scusa, cos’hai detto?||[skˈuza kˈɔs’ˈaj dˈetːo]||skuh-sah cohs-ah-ee deht-oh||Informal|
|Excuse me?||Come, scusa?||[kˈome skˈuza]||koh-meh skuh-sah||Informal|
|I beg your pardon?||Come, scusi?||[kˈome skˈuzɪ]||koh-meh skuh-see||Formal|
|Pardon? What did you say?||Prego? Cos'hai detto?||[prˈɛɡo kozˈaːi dˈetːo]||prah-goh cohs-ah-ee deht-oh||Informal|
|Pardon? What did you say?||Prego?||[prˈɛɡo]||prah-goh||Formal|
|Sorry, I didn't understand.||Scusa, non ho capito.||[skˈuza nˈon ˈɔ kapˈito]||skuh-sah nohn oh kah-pee-toh||Informal|
|Sorry, I didn't understand.||Scusi, non ho capito.||[skˈuzɪ nˈon ˈɔ kapˈito]||skuh-see nohn oh kah-pee-toh||Formal|
|Sorry, could you please repeat that?||Scusa, puoi ripetere per favore?||[skˈuza pʊˈɔi ripˈetere pˈer favˈore]||skuh-sah puho-ee ree-peh-the-reh per fah-voh-reh||Informal|
|Sorry, could you please repeat that?||Scusi, può ripetere per favore?||[skˈuzɪ pʊˈɔ ripˈetere pˈer favˈore]||skuh-see puho ree-peh-the-reh per fah-voh-reh||Formal|
How to apologize when you have made a small mistake
Let’s now move on to how to apologize in Italian when you have made a small mistake, like calling the wrong number, accidentally spilling orange juice on the carpet, or arriving a little bit late for a catch-up coffee... You know, small mishaps, little slip-ups or simple mistakes that didn’t hurt anyone.
Here are the most important Italian phrases that you need to know when dealing with minor, day-to-day types of apologies.
|Sorry about that.||Scusa.||[skˈuza]||skuh-sah||Informal|
|Whoops! Sorry!||Ops, scusa.||[ˈops, skˈuza]||ohps skuh-sah||Informal|
|Oh, my bad!||Oh, errore mio.||[ˈoː erɾˈore mˈio]||oh her-oh-reh meeoh||All purpose|
|Oh, sorry. I see I’ve made a gaffe.||Chiedo scusa. Ho fatto una gaffe.||[kjˈedo skˈuza ˈɔ fˈatːo ˈuna ɡˈaffe]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah oh fah-toh una gaffe||All purpose|
|I messed up. Sorry.||Ho fatto un pasticcio, scusami.||[ˈɔ fˈatːo ˈun pastˈit͡ʃːo skˈuzamɪ]||oh fah-toh un pah-stee-cho skuh-sah-mee||Informal|
|I'm sorry. I didn't do it on purpose.||Chiedo scusa, non ho fatto apposta.||[kjˈedo skˈuza, nˈon ˈɔ fˈatːo apːˈɔsta]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah non oh fah-toh ah-poh-stah||All purpose|
|I’m so embarrassed! I’ve slipped up.||Che figuraccia! Ho fatto uno scivolone.||[kˈe fiɡʊrˈat͡ʃːa ˈɔ fˈatːo ˈuno ʃivolˈone]||keh phee-goo-rah-cha oh fah-toh unoh shee-voh-loh-neh||Informal|
How to say sorry in a formal or business environment
Italian has a variety of terms used to mean “sorry.” When you are in a formal situation, like an important meeting with your boss, or you want to be extra polite, use the example words and expressions below to appropriately apologize in Italian.
|Pardon me.||Chiedo venia.||[kjˈedo vˈenia]||kee-eh-doh veh-nee-ah|
|I'm sorry.||Sono spiacente.||[sˈono spjat͡ʃˈɛnte]||soh-noh spee-ah-chen-teh|
|Pardon me.||Mi perdoni.||[mˈi perdˈonɪ]||mee pehr-doh-nee|
|Pardon me.||Mi scusi.||[mˈi skˈuzɪ]||mee skuh-see|
|Please excuse me for this.||La prego di scusarmi.||[lˈa prˈɛɡo dˈi skʊzˈarmɪ]||lah prah-goh dee skuh-sahr-mee|
|Please excuse me.||Voglia scusarmi.||[vˈoʎa skʊzˈarmɪ]||voh-wlhee-ah skuh-sahr-mee|
|I apologize for the inconvenience.||Mi scuso per l'inconveniente.||[mˈi skˈuzo pˈer linkonveniˈɛnte]||mee skuh-soh per leen-kohn-veh-nee-ehn-teh|
|Please accept my sincere apologies.||La prego di accettare le mie più sincere scuse.||[lˈa prˈɛɡo dˈi at͡ʃːetːˈare lˈe mˈie pjˈu sint͡ʃˈere skˈuze]||lah prah-goh dee ah-chet-ah-reh leh mee-eh pee-uh sehn-tee-teh skuh-seh|
|I'm sorry. It was an oversight on my part.||Mi scusi. È stata una svista.||[mˈi skˈuzɪ ˈɛː stˈata ˈuna zvˈista]||mee skuh-see eh stah-tah una svee-stah|
|Sorry for the late reply.||Mi scuso per il ritardo con cui Le rispondo.||[mˈi skˈuzo pˈer ˈiːl ritˈardo kˈon kˈuj lˈe rispˈondo]||mee skuh-soh per eel ree-tahr-doh kon koo-eh leh rees-pohn-doh|
|Please forgive the lengthy delay.||La prego di scusare il ritardo.||[lˈa prˈɛɡo dˈi skʊzˈare ˈiːl ritˈardo]||lah prah-goh dee skuh-sahr-eh eel ree-tahr-doh|
|I’m sorry to bother you.||Mi scusi per il disturbo.||[mˈi skˈuzɪ pˈer ˈiːl distˈurbo]||mee skuh-see per eel dees-toor-boh|
How to ask for forgiveness
Let’s now move on to asking for forgiveness. Just as in English, there are countless different ways to apologize and ask for forgiveness in Italian. Check out these examples.
|Please forgive me.||Perdonami.||[perdˈonamɪ]||pehr-doh-nah-mee||Informal|
|Please forgive me. I made a mistake.||Perdonami, ti prego. Ho sbagliato.||[perdˈonamɪ tˈi prˈɛɡo ˈɔ zbaʎˈato]||pehr-doh-nah-mee tee prah-goh oh sbah-wlhee-ah-toh||Informal|
|Can you forgive me?||Mi puoi perdonare?||[mˈi pʊˈɔi perdonˈare]||mee puh-ohee pehr-doh-nah-reh||Informal|
|Could you ever forgive me?||Potrai mai perdonarmi?||[potrˈaːɪ mˈaj perdonˈarmɪ]||poh-trahee mahee pehr-doh-nahr-mee||Informal|
|I ask for forgiveness.||Chiedo perdono.||[kjˈedo perdˈono]||kee-eh-doh pehr-doh-noh||All purpose|
|How can I make it up to you?||Come posso rimediare?||[kˈome pˈɔs͡so rimedjˈare]||koh-meh pohs-oh ree-meh-dee-ah-re||All purpose|
|What can I do to get your forgiveness?||Cosa posso fare per avere il tuo perdono?||[kˈɔza pˈɔs͡so fˈare pˈer avˈere ˈiːl tˈuo perdˈono]||koh-sah pohs-oh fah-reh per aveh-reh eel tuho pehr-doh-noh||Informal|
How to express regret
Without showing that you truly regret what happened, and assuring the other person that you won’t make the same mistake again, your apology may come across as hollow.
The phrases in this table will be useful to know when apologizing and expressing heartfelt remorse. It sounds easy, but this is something many people are uncomfortable with.
|Sorry, I won’t do it again.||Chiedo scusa, non accadrà più.||[kjˈedo skˈuza nˈon akːadrˈa pjˈu]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah non ah-kah-drah peeuh||All purpose|
|I’m sorry. I promise that it won’t happen again.||Chiedo scusa, prometto che non si ripeterà.||[kjˈedo skˈuza promˈetːo kˈe nˈon sˈi ripeteɾˈa]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah proh-meh-toh keh non see ree-peh-the-rah||All purpose|
|I’m sorry. I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.||Chiedo scusa, farò in modo che non succeda più.||[kjˈedo skˈuza faɾˈɔ ˈiːn mˈɔdo kˈe nˈon sʊt͡ʃːˈeda pjˈu]||kee-eh-doh skuh-sah fah-roh een moh-doh keh non soo-cheh-dah peeuh||All purpose|
|I wish I hadn’t done that.||Vorrei non averlo fatto.||[vorɾˈɛi nˈon avˈɛrlo fˈatːo]||voh-reh-ee non ah-vehr-loh fah-toh||All purpose|
|I shouldn’t have done that.||Non avrei dovuto farlo.||[nˈon avrˈɛi dovˈuto fˈarlo]||non ah-vreh-ee doh-vuh-toh fahr-loh||All purpose|
|I wish I could take it back.||Vorrei poter ritirare quello che ho detto.||[vorɾˈɛi potˈɛr ritirˈare kwˈɛllo kˈe ˈɔ dˈetːo]||voh-reh-ee poh-tehr ree-tee-rah-reh kuh-ehlloh keh oh deh-toh||All purpose|
|It’s all my fault.||È colpa mia.||[ˈɛː kˈolpa mˈia]||eh kohl-pah mee-ah||All purpose|
|It’s all my fault.||Mea culpa. (Latin)||[mˈɛa kˈulpa]||meh-ah kuhl-pah||All purpose|
Example sentences of how to say sorry in Italian
As you can see, Italian uses so many different expressions depending on the context. Let’s look at some example sentences to get an idea of how it works.
|Context||Italian||What it means in English|
|When you need to apologize in Italian for having said or done something that harmed someone||Ti chiedo scusa, sono stato uno sciocco. Ti prometto che non si ripeterà.||I’m so sorry, that was thoughtless of me. I promise it won't happen again.|
|“Mi dispiace” implies that you feel sympathy for someone, so use it when you are sorry that they are feeling down, or going through a tough time.||Mi dispiace molto che tu stia attraversando un periodo di difficoltà sul lavoro.||I’m so sorry that you are going through a difficult time at work.|
|If you arrive late for a meeting at work because you recorded the time incorrectly, this is what you could say.||Mi scuso per il ritardo, chiedo venia.||I apologize for the delay. Pardon me.|
|If you are taking a message for your boss, and you can’t hear the person’s surname over the telephone, don’t just say “huh?”. This is the appropriate thing to say.||Scusi, può cortesemente ripetere il suo cognome?||I'm sorry. could you please repeat your surname?|
|If you dial the wrong number, here is what to say to politely apologize to the person you called.||Mi scusi, ho sbagliato numero.||Sorry, I dialed the wrong number.|
|When approaching a stranger to ask a question.||Mi scusi.||Excuse me.|
|If you want to sit down on a train or bus, but a passenger has put their bag or coat on the seat, smile and say:||Mi scusi, è libero?||Excuse me, is this seat free?|
|If you are not sure if a bus or train stops where you need to go, you can use these phrases to ask for information from the driver or another passenger.||Mi scusi, questo treno ferma a Bergamo?||Does this train stop in Bergamo?|
|If you are not sure if a bus or train stops where you need to go, you can use these phrases to ask for information from the driver or another passenger.||Mi scusi, dove devo scendere per andare allo stadio?||Excuse me, where do I have to get off if I want to go to the stadium?|
|If you are lost and need to ask a passerby for directions, use this simple sentence pattern.||Mi scusi, sa come si arriva al Colosseo?||Excuse me, do you know how to get to the Coliseum?|
Sorry, not sorry
Good job! You’ve just learned a whole load of new stuff. Now you’re prepared for any situation involving apologies. With some practice, you’ll be saying sorry, I apologize, and pardon me in Italian like a pro in no time! The more Italian you read, speak and listen to, the more it will become part of you.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our Italian blog, and take a look through our library of fun and free Italian vocabulary lessons from hello’s to goodbyes and everything in between. Happy learning!