So far the only way I know to say "I'm sorry" is "lo siento." However, this gets repetitive rather quickly, and sometimes I'm looking for a stronger form of an apology. What other ways are there to apologize in spanish? If you are apologizing for an extremely terrible thing you've done, would you use a different phrase? How do native speakers apologize or convey regret for things they've done?

  • You can also say "lo siento" + something big, like "muchísimo".
    – fedorqui
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 8:55
  • "Lo siento" implica mas bien el sentido de empatia que el arrepentimiento.
    – Paul
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 18:39
  • I made a YouTube video that explains how to apologize in Spanish. It explains which context is appropriate for different apologies like when to use lo siento or perdón. Hope this helps! youtu.be/mneRXgho_FQ
    – Sarah
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 21:34

7 Answers 7


Well at least in Mexico is not common to say "lo siento" instead we say "perdón" for apologizing. The only part that I've heard "lo siento" is in movies or telenovelas.

A stronger version of "perdón" is "perdóname" or "discúlpame". You can add "por favor" at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.

Here some examples:

Perdóname por haberte mentido.

Por favor perdóname.

Perdón por no haber hecho caso.


Discúlpame por favor.

  • 1
    All of these sound ok in Argentina. But also "lo siento (mucho)"
    – leonbloy
    Commented Jan 25, 2012 at 14:42
  • 1
    It works the same way in Spain Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 9:54
  • I think we use "lo siento" when we really make a mess, and "perdon" in every other I'm sorry moment
    – Poncho
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 15:37
  • As a good spanish, you must learn to say it in the way you don't say it.. xD, "la he cagado", is really colloquial, and if you put sad face, can be understood like that :P, and you don't have to say "sorry".
    – Jose Palma
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 10:15

'Sentir', 'perdonar', 'disculpar', and even 'dispensar' are all used depending on the reason for your apology:

Lo sentimos, este teléfono ha sido desconectado.

Lo sentimos, la lluvia ha arruinado el paseo.

You're just being polite, it is not really your fault and beyond your control.

Discúlpame por haber llegado un poco tarde.

Estamos remodelando, disculpe las molestias.

Disculpe, ¿sabe a qué hora empieza la fiesta?

This is the equivalent of 'excuse me'. You are responsible for the action, but it is a small or easily-justifiable matter.

Perdóname por no haber ido a nuestra cita.

*Perdón por pisarte la mano

You are responsible for the action, and it is a big deal.

Other words to keep in mind:

'Dispensar' is used by old people in Mexico, it is the equivalent of 'disculpar' and it is disappearing but will remain in written works.

'Con permiso' is the active and physical version of 'excuse me'. It always involves physical movement, like when leaving/entering a room or reaching in front of someone to grab something.

'Pesar' is used when something weighs heavily on you and is much deeper:

Me pesa mucho no haberte creído.

Last but not least, 'dar el pésame' is what you would say to someone who has lost someone:

Mi más sentido pésame por la pérdida de tu papá.

  • 1
    Very similar in Spain, but here we also use Lo siento when the action is our fault, apart from the use you have explain. ¡Lo siento! no sabía que estabas detrás de la puerta. ¿Te he hecho daño?. If you really regret what you have done you can also add perdona or perdónameat the end: ¡Lo siento! no sabía que estabas detrás de la puerta. ¿Te he hecho daño? Perdona
    – itziki
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 8:01

In Argentina, we just emphasize "Lo siento" (or "lo lamento")

Lo siento mucho

Lo siento muchísimo

Alfredo's alternatives are also ok.

  • +1 for lo lamento
    – dockeryZ
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 15:23

Other alternative, stronger than just "lo siento":

lo lamento / lo lamento mucho / lo lamento muchsísimo

It's also more formal than "lo siento"

  • I would add that 'lamentarse' is not only stronger but also more formal.
    – Nico
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 6:50

Yet even another more formal way could be:

Te pido disculpas.

Te pido perdón.


You could say:

  • Lo siento mucho
  • Siento
  • Lamento
  • Mi más sentido pésame

Though, I'm sorry has different meanings depend on the context that you use, it can also be used to ask someone repeat something, to express condolences, to object, or to get someone's attention. And in different context, you would use different expressions to say "I'm sorry".

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    – fedorqui
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 14:43

From my experience, you could say


Lo lamento

Perdón is more used if you accidentally hurt or bump into a person. If you want you can add muchísimo to make it sound like you mean it from your bottom of your heart.

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