Lo siento por lo haber intentado.


Or does it have to be haberlo intentado?

  • 3
    The avatar is very appropiated to the question :-D
    – SJuan76
    Jan 30, 2017 at 20:35
  • @SJuan76 ¡Viva la restauración! Jan 30, 2017 at 20:41
  • 1
    The right translation depends on the intent. If you are apologising genuinely, pablodf76's answer is correct. If you are defending yourself (someone is criticising you, but hey, at least you tried), I would go for Carlos Alejo's one. In any case, the pronoun is always enclitic when you use an infinitive, as they explain.
    – Gorpik
    Jan 31, 2017 at 9:31
  • Related Lo & Me: When to hook at the end of verb and when to keep separate. Maybe you'll find this previous question useful and interesting.
    – Diego
    Jan 31, 2017 at 17:08

3 Answers 3


The correct form would be

Siento haberlo intentado.

In Spanish the object pronouns la, le, lo etc. are always enclitic (they follow the verb) if it's an infinitive, and they're written as one word with it. This is in contrast to other Romance languages which either allow freedom in the position of the pronoun or prescribe that it must be proclitic to (i. e. attached in front of) the verb.

You can use the same construction (in this case) substituting lamentar for sentir.

Lamento haberlo intentado.

For more examples see the relevant section of Wikipedia's article on Spanish pronouns.

  • Pablo, I don't understand "proclitic to" -- what's the "to" doing there? I'm not editing it because maybe there's something going on in that sentence that I don't understand. ("Proclitic" is not a word I naturally use.) Jun 29, 2018 at 4:31
  • 1
    @aparente001 The definition of "proclitic" follows it, but it was missing a parenthesis. Proclitic means attached ("clitic") before/to ("pro-") the following word. .
    – pablodf76
    Jun 29, 2018 at 12:55
  • Thanks for the edit, Pablo. I've been learning these words from your posts, but they aren't part of my active vocabulary yet, so I wasn't comfortable proposing an edit myself. The sentence looks great now. Jun 29, 2018 at 14:17

Another option that does not use the infinitive:

Perdona que lo intentara

In this case, as the verb is not in its infinitive form, the object pronoun goes before it. You can use the infinitive in this other option:

Perdón por haberlo intentado.

In this case you must insert "por", as in the English "sorry for...".

  • 1
    Esta respuesta complementa perfectamente a la otra. "I'm sorry for trying" puede tener las connataciones de "I regret trying" (lamento haberlo intentado) o "I apologize, I was trying to help", que incluso se puede decir en modo irónico a alguien (en plan, "déjame en paz. Solo intetaba ayudar. Perdón por intetarlo, vale?". Sin un contexto, es casi imposible saber si uno se lamenta o se disculpa ante otro(s).
    – Diego
    Jan 31, 2017 at 14:20

"Lo siento" can only be used in some special ways. I will modify your question slightly, to be more in line with idiomatic (natural) Spanish, and then address what you asked. I'll use "Me disculpo" for the "I'm sorry" part. "Me disculpo" means "I apologize."

Does this work?

Me disculpo por lo haber intentado.

Or does it have to be the following?

Me disculpo por haberlo intentado.

Answer: it has to be the latter (por haberlo intentado). Reason: "haber" is an infinitive. When you have an object pronoun and an infinitive, you have to use the scotch-tape method (haberlo -- notice that "haber" and "lo" got scotch-taped together). On the other hand, when the verb is conjugated, then you can use the separated method:

Lo intento, si crees que vale la pena. (I'll try, if you think it's worthwhile.)

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