How to Say Sorry in Russian, Pronunciation and Examples

Sorry in Russian

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The most popular way to say sorry in Russian is извини (izviNEE) but there are many other ways to apologize. While some are more suited to formal situations, others are fine for any setting. Below is the list of the ten most common ways to say sorry in Russian.

01
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Извини/извините

Pronunciation: izviNEE/izviNEEtye

Translation: forgive me, pardon me

Meaning: sorry, excuse me

Literally meaning "remove the blame," this is the most common and versatile way to say sorry in Russian. You can use it in any setting, from very formal to very informal.

Use извини when addressing someone that you are close with, such as a family member, a friend, or a loved one.

Извините is the polite form used when speaking to those you usually address as вы (vy) - plural you, such as anyone you don't know very well or to whom you want to show particular respect.

Example:

- Извините, пожалуйста, вы не подскажете, который час? (izviNEEtye, paZHAlusta, vy nye patSKAzhytye, kaTOry CHAS?)
- Excuse me please, could you tell me what time it is?

02
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Прости/простите

Pronunciation: prasTEE/prasTEEtye

Translation: forgive me, I beg your pardon, pardon me

Meaning: pardon, I beg your pardon, excuse me, sorry

Another common way to apologize, простите is also suited to any setting and register.

Example:

- Простите, я не сразу вас узнала. (prasTEEtye, ya ny SRAzoo vas oozNAla)
- I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you straight away.

03
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Прошу прощения

Pronunciation: praSHOO praSHYEniya

Translation: I beg your pardon, I ask for your forgiveness

Meaning: excuse me

Прошу прощения is a polite expression and is reserved for a more formal style of conversation.

Example:

- Прошу прощения, разрешите представиться: Иван Иванович Крутов. (praSHOO praSHYEniya, razrySHEEtye prytSTAvitsa: iVAN iVAnavich KROOtaf)
- I beg your pardon, allow me to introduce myself: Ivan Ivanovich Krootov.

04
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Пардон

Pronunciation: parDON

Translation: sorry

Meaning: sorry

A very informal way to say sorry, пардон is only used with friends, family, and good acquaintances.

Example:

- Ой пардон, я нечаянно. (Oi, parDON, ya nyCHAyena)
- Oh sorry, that was an accident.

05
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Виноват/виновата

Pronunciation: vinaVAT/vinaVAta

Translation: guilty

Meaning: my bad, my fault, sorry

This is a versatile expression and can be used on its own (виноват) or as part of a longer apology, as in the second example below.

Examples:

- О, виноват. Простите, случайно получилось. (O vinaVAT. prasTEEtye, slooCHAYna palooCHIlas.)
- Oh, my bad, sorry, that wasn't on purpose.

- Да, я виновата. (da, ya vinaVAta)
- Yes, I am to blame.

06
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Не взыщите

Pronunciation: nye vzySHEEtye

Translation: don't make me pay (legal term), don't take this to court

Meaning: please don't take it the wrong way, I apologize

Quite an old-fashioned way to apologize, the expression comes from the idea of suing someone for what they have done. By using this expression, the speaker asks not to take them to court, to let it go.

Example:

- Помочь вам не смогу, уж не взыщите. (paMOCH vam nye smaGOO, oozh ny vzySHEEtye)
- I won't be able to help you, I'm very sorry.

07
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Прошу извинить

Pronunciation: praSHOO izviNEET'

Translation: I beg your pardon, I'm asking you to forgive me

Meaning: please forgive me, please excuse me

Quite a formal way to say sorry, the expression прошу извинить can be used at work and in similar situations.

Example:

- Прошу меня извинить, мне нужно срочно уехать. (praSHOO meNYA izviNEET', mnye NOOZHna SROCHna ooYEhat')
- Please excuse me, I have to leave, it's an emergency.

08
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Мне очень жаль

Pronunciation: mnye Ochyn ZHAL'

Translation: I am very sorry

Meaning: I am very sorry, my condolences

The expression мне очень жаль can be used both when offering condolences and when expressing sorrow, regret, or general apology.

Example:

- Мне очень жаль, но я не изменю своего решения. (mnye Ochyn ZHAl', no ya ny izmyeNYU svayeVOH rySHEniya)
- I'm very sorry but I will not change my decision.

09
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Не обессудьте

Pronunciation: nye abyesSOOT'tye

Translation: don't leave me without a fair trial, don't be harsh,

Meaning: I apologize, sorry

Another old-fashioned apology, this expression is similar to не взыщите. It can be used both formally and in more relaxed situations.

Example:

- Угостить у нас особо то и нечем, гостей не ждали, уж не обессудьте. (oogasTEET oo nas aSOba ta ee NYEchem, oosh ny abyesSOOT'tye)
- We don't have much to offer you, we weren't expecting guests, sorry.

10
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Сожалею

Pronunciation: sazhaLYEyu

Translation: I regret

Meaning: I'm sorry, I regret

A formal way to apologize in Russian, сожалею is often used in official speeches and documents.

Example:

- Мы сожалеем о том, что наши страны не так близки, как хотелось бы. (my sazhaLYEyem a tom, shto NAshi STRAny ny TAK blizKEE, kak haTYElas' by)
- We regret that our countries are not as close as we would like.