How To Apologize In Portuguese

Because you’ll probably mess up eventually.
two people hugging at a carnival sorry in portuguese

There comes a time in every language learner’s journey when it becomes necessary to learn a quick apology or two. Usually, this time comes pretty early on in the process. “I’m sorry” is one of the most important survival phrases to know in any language, even if (and maybe especially if) you’re just visiting another country as a tourist. As a student of português, you’ll definitely want to know how to say sorry in Portuguese.

As it so happens, there’s more than one way to express regret, remorse or a polite “excuse me.” Below are some of the most common ways to say sorry in Portuguese, together with audio pronunciations voiced by native speakers.

How To Say Sorry In Portuguese

I’m Sorry That…

There’s a difference between saying “sorry that happened” and “sorry for doing that.” If you’re trying to express your empathy with a “sorry,” then you’ll likely want to use some form of sentir muito que (“to be very sorry that”).

Note that this doesn’t only apply to situations where something bad happened. You can also use this to politely decline someone’s invitation or tell them you have to get off the phone. The key difference is that you’re not necessarily signaling that you’ve personally done anything wrong.

Here are some examples of how you might hear this in a sentence:

  • Sinto muito que vocês partam amanhã. — I’m very sorry that you leave tomorrow.
  • Sentimos muito que você insista em deixar a firma. — We are very sorry that you insist on leaving the firm.
  • Sinto muito, mas hoje não estou com vontade de sair. — Sorry, but I don’t feel like going out today.
  • Sinto muito, tenho que desligar agora. — Sorry, I have to hang up now.
  • Eu sinto muito, mas não estou de acordo: Titanic não é o melhor filme de todos os tempos! — I’m sorry but I disagree: Titanic is not the best film ever made!

Condolences And Regret

Another verb you can use to express “sorry that” is lamentar. It means close to the same thing as sentir muito que, but you might hear it used more often in situations where someone is offering condolences to someone, or even expressing a form of “that’s too bad” in a more everyday type of situation.

  • Lamento que você ainda sofra tanto. — I am sorry that you still suffer so much.
  • Lamentamos que vocês não comam peixe. — We’re sorry that you don’t eat fish.
  • Lamento a sua perda. — I’m sorry for your loss.

I’m Sorry For…

In most situations, you’ll probably want to reach for a desculpa or a desculpe, which are closer to an actual apology than the other two examples. Desculpa is used to address someone in a casual setting, whereas desculpe is the formal version.

This word can also be used to mean “excuse me,” depending on the context.

  • Desculpe-me, foi engano. — Sorry, I’ve called the wrong number.
  • Desculpe-me, eu não tenho relógio. — Sorry, I don’t have a watch.
  • Desculpa, eu não disse isso para magoar você. — I’m sorry, I didn’t say that to hurt you.
  • Desculpe, mas não há nenhuma reserva nesse nome. — I’m sorry, but there’s no reservation under that name.
  • Desculpe-me, você disse alguma coisa? — Sorry, did you say something?
  • Desculpa, André, tenho que ir. — Sorry, André, I have to go.
  • Desculpe-me, o senhor tem fogo? — Excuse me, do you have a lighter?
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