In Japanese, the phrase I’m sorry is often translated as gomen-nasai. While this certainly is one of the meanings of I’m sorry, there are many other ways we use I’m sorry in English.
Today, let’s look at four different ways we can use I’m sorry in conversation.
Of course, we often use I’m sorry to apologize. To give the reason why you are apologizing, we often use be sorry (+ that) + sentence. The word that can be omitted.
◆I’m sorry (that) I made a mess in the living room.
◆I’m sorry (that) I can’t attend the meeting this afternoon.
◆We are sorry (that) there was a mistake on your bill.
◆We’re sorry (that) we couldn’t make it to the party last weekend.
We can also use I’m sorry to show you are unhappy about a situation and that you wish things were different. To do this, we often use be sorry + to + verb. We often use this structure with words like hear, see, learn and have to.
◆I was sorry to hear about the accident.
◆I was sorry to see that he is having health problems.
◆I’m sorry to have to sell my house.
◆I was sorry to learn that you are moving away next month.