How To Apologize In Swedish

There are at least four main ways to say you’re sorry in Swedish. Here’s how to use them correctly.
How To Apologize In Swedish

One thing you’ll learn quickly as a language student? There isn’t always one catch-all “sorry” term in every language that encompasses expressions of true regret, heartfelt condolences, casual apologies for getting in someone’s way, and polite ways for flagging someone’s attention. Sometimes, you need at least three or four different words to properly convey the nuance of an apology. If you’re trying to say sorry in Swedish, you’ll need to first specify the type of “sorry” it is.

Here are four of the most common ways to say sorry in Swedish, together with example sentences and audio pronunciations voiced by a native speaker.

How To Say Sorry In Swedish

The “Excuse Me” Sorry

For most casual situations, a simple Ursäkta! will suffice. Ursäkta can be translated to both “I’m sorry” and “excuse me,” depending on the situation. Use this apology when you’d normally offer a polite “sorry” for accidentally inconveniencing someone or asking for clarification.

  • Ursäkta, jag har ringt fel nummer. — Sorry, I’ve called the wrong number.
  • Ursäkta att jag väckte dig! — Sorry that I woke you!
  • Ursäkta oredan i köket, jag gör rent senare. — Sorry about the mess in the kitchen, I’ll clean up later.
  • Ursäkta, jag förstod inte. — Excuse me, I did not understand that.
  • Ursäkta, kan jag få komma förbi? — Excuse me, could you let me pass please?
  • Ursäkta mig, jag letar efter ett bageri. — Excuse me, I’m looking for a bakery.

To Let Someone Down Nicely

Att vara ledsen means “to be sorry” in Swedish, though you’ll normally see (and say) it conjugated in first person as “I’m sorry,” or Jag är ledsen. The word ledsen can also mean “sad” or “upset.” Though this might not be the apology you use to sincerely express your heartfelt regret, you would most often use this in situations where you have to provide some sort of excuse or say something that might disappoint someone.

  • Jag är ledsen att jag glömde att ta med mjölken. — I am sorry that I forgot to bring the milk.
  • Jag är ledsen jag måste lägga på nu. — Sorry, I have to hang up now.
  • Jag är ledsen, jag har ingen lust att gå ut i dag. — Sorry, I don’t feel like going out today.
  • Jag är ledsen, jag har ingen tid i kväll. — I’m sorry, I don’t have any time tonight.
  • Jag är ledsen jag har ingen klocka. — Sorry, I don’t have a watch.
  • Jag är ledsen, men köttbullarna är slut för i dag. — I’m sorry, but we’re out of meatballs for today.
  • Jag är ledsen men jag stödjer inte något av dessa argument. — I’m sorry, I don’t support any of these arguments.

The “Forgive Me” Sorry

In situations where you might wish to sincerely convey that you’re sorry in Swedish, you would most likely use förlåt, which carries a connotation that you’re asking for someone’s forgiveness.

  • Åh, förlåt. Mina tips till dig är att besöka stadshuset och slottet, eller att gå på museum. — Oh, I’m sorry. My tips for you are to visit the city hall and the palace, or to go to a museum.
  • Förlåt, jag missade dig i går. Jag var i ett möte. — Sorry I missed you yesterday, I was in a meeting.
  • Förlåt, jag har mycket att göra. — Sorry, I have lots to do.
  • Förlåt att jag är sen! — Sorry that I’m late!

The “Unfortunately” Sorry

You’ll probably use this sorry in Swedish less often than the others, but tyvärr can mean either “sorry” or “unfortunately,” depending on the context.

  • Tyvärr, mitt tåg går redan klockan 13 över 12. — Sorry, my train already leaves at thirteen past twelve.
  • Tyvärr, jag äter inte kött. Har ni något vegetariskt? — Sorry, I don’t eat meat. Do you have anything vegetarian?
  • Tyvärr, vi tar inte kontanter. — Sorry, we don’t take cash.

Looking for more Swedish lessons?
Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

Recommended Articles

Why The Swedish ‘Mys’ Is A Must In Your Vocabulary

Why The Swedish ‘Mys’ Is A Must In Your Vocabulary

Because coziness is not just a feeling — it’s an entire way of life.
How To Talk About Free Time In Swedish

How To Talk About Free Time In Swedish

Learn the vocabulary for chatting about your favorite things to do.
How To Talk About Family In Swedish

How To Talk About Family In Swedish

Well, you see, there’s your mormor, your farmor, and then there’s your farfar and your morfar.