Difference Between Sorry and Apology

Main Difference – Sorry vs Apology

Sorry and apology are two words that express regret. We often use one of these words when we are asking forgiveness for a wrong or fault. Although many people assume that saying “I’m sorry” and “I apologize”, means the same, there is a subtle difference between the two. Saying sorry simply expresses your personal feelings about something. Apologizing implies that you are accepting the responsibility of the fault or mistake as well as expressing your regret about it. This is the main difference between sorry and apology.

This article explains,

1. What Does Sorry Mean  – Meaning, Grammar, Characteristics, and Usage of the word Sorry

2. What Does Apology Mean – Meaning, Grammar, Characteristics, and Usage of the word Apology

3. What is the difference between Sorry and ApologyDifference Between Sorry and Apology - Sorry vs Apology Comparison Summary

What Does Sorry Mean

Sorry is an adjective that is used to express one’s sorrow, regret, sympathy, pity. We use this word to express sympathy, distress or sadness about someone else’s misfortune or to express regret or penitence about a fault or a wrong. Sorry is also used to introduce disappointing or bad news in a polite way. The following examples will help you to understand the meaning and usage of the word better.

I was sorry to hear about your tragic loss.

I’m sorry if I disturbed you.

I’m sorry I wasted your time.

He was sorry to hear about her divorce.

She said she was sorry for misleading me.

I’m sorry to inform that the flight has been delayed by 10 hours.

Difference Between Sorry and Apology

What Does Apology Mean

Apology is a noun referring to a regretful acknowledgment of an offence or failure. Apologize is the verb form of apology. The word apologies refer to an expression of regret for not being able to do something. Observe the following examples to understand the meaning and usage of this word better.

I apologize for the inconvenience we caused you.

My wife can’t come; she sends her apologies.

You owe me an apology.

The company issued an official apology to its customers.

He sent letters of apology to the parties concerned.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay.

Unlike sorry, apology cannot be used to express sympathy for someone else’s situation. Sorry only acknowledges one’s own person feelings about a mistake. However, apology also indicates that the one is taking responsibility for the fault or mistake. In addition, apology is more formal than sorry. For example, you don’t usually express apology to your friends; you simply say sorry. An apology is more suited for professional contexts.

Main Difference - Sorry vs Apology

Difference Between Sorry and Apology


Sorry refers to feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence.

Apology is a regretful acknowledgment of an offence or failure

Grammatical Category

Sorry is an adjective.

Apology is a noun.


Sorry doesn’t imply that speaker is taking the responsibility for the fault.

Apology implies that speaker is taking the responsibility for the fault.

Formality Level

Sorry is more informal than apology.

Apology is more formal than sorry and is used in a professional context.

Others’ Situation

Sorry is also used to express sympathy and regret about someone else’s situation.

Apology cannot be used to express sympathy about someone else’s situation.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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