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?
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.
'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.
You could say:
- Lo siento mucho
- 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".