How to Say "I'm Sorry": The Apology Poem

Updated on March 8, 2015
CatherineGiordano profile image

I'm an author of a book of essays. My poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies.

A word about apologies

I do public speaking, and I have a talk titled "All About Apologies ... and Forgiveness."

I discuss the importance of apologizing correctly--what to do and what not do. I heap scorn on the non-apology apology--the false apologies that blame the wronged person or group more than the person who is supposedly apologizing.

I recommend that everyone remember the three "R's" of apologizing if they are genuinely sorry. The three "r's" are remorse, reparation, and renunciation. Without the 3 R's, an apology is just empty words.

I usually read "The Apology Poem" during my talk. It's a funny poem. Everyone laughs and it helps make the message memorable.

Enjoy the poem.

The "Apology Puppy" Says "I Am Sorry"

Saying "I am sorry" is important, but it is  just the first step in an apology.
Saying "I am sorry" is important, but it is just the first step in an apology. | Source

The Apology Poem

I’ll tell you what really riles me--

It’s the non-apology apology.

It begins with, “If you were offended”--

Now that is an apology up-ended.

It adds new offense to the offensive.

He is clearly just being defensive.

His error, he refuses to recognize,

So what follows is just a pack of lies.

He thinks we can’t see through his game--

He’s saying we are the ones to blame.

He says that it is political correctness run amok

And this whole brouhaha is just his bad luck.

It’s all our fault, in his eyes.

“You’re just too sensitive,” he implies.

“I shouldn’t be facing this demand.

If only you could understand.”

And then he may try to explain,

With excuses that sound inane.

His explanations are so spurious

It leaves us all the more furious.

Here’s the right way to do an apology.

You say it straight-up with sincerity.

It’s not so hard, you can do it,

And then we can be through with it

You say, “I’m sorry and then

Add this, “I won’t do it again.

I was wrong, I now recognize,

And I do humbly apologize.”

“Yes, this was my bad,

So now there’s this I must add:

My very best, I will do

To make it up to you.

Furthermore, I have learned my lesson

I will not do or say this again.

I take responsibility for this blooper.

I promise to do better in the future.

Remember this and it will be easy

There are three R’s in an apology.

First Remorse, then Reparation,

And most important, Renunciation.

And that is all there is to it.

Stop whining and just do it.

Then it will be over with,

And we can start to forgive.

Politicians Often Give the Non-Apology Apology

Politicians hate to admit that they have said something offensive.
Politicians hate to admit that they have said something offensive. | Source

Give your opinion of the non-apology Apology

How do you feel about people giving non-apology apologies?

See results

Get the Apology Right

The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships
The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in All Your Relationships
This book reports on a groundbreaking study of the art of the apology, and gives detailed proven techniques for giving and receiving effective apologies. The authors demonstrate that how an apology is made is as important as the apology itself when it comes to clearing the way toward healing and restoring relationships.

Brenda Lee gets the remorse part right

I love the song, "I'm Sorry," by Brenda Lee. It was a hit in the sixties.

Brenda gives a moving apology expressing heart-felt remorse. Too bad she didn't also sing about reparation and renunciation.

Nonetheless, it is a great song. It is the song that inspired me to write my speech on the subject of apologies. I play a few bars of the song as an introduction to the speech.

Brenda Lee Sings "I'm Sorry"

Apologies are important the world over.

No matter where you are in the world, it is important to know how to say "I am sorry." it is always a plus if you can say "I'm sorry" in the language of the person to whom you are apologizing. It shows you cared enough to go to a little extra effort.

The chart below lists the phrase "I am sorry" in 15 different languages.The list even includes Esperanto. For languages which do not use the Latin alphabet as English does, the phrase has been transliterated.

One more thing--if you are apologizing in Japan, remember to give the apology with a slight bow of the head to indicate sincerity.

Saying "I'm Sorry" is Important Wherever You Are

All around the world, people say "I am  sorry."
All around the world, people say "I am sorry." | Source

People the world over say "I'm sorry." The phrases in the chart below will allow you to say "I'm sorry" in 15 different languages. No matter where you are in the world, you will have the appropriate words for an apology.

How to Say "I Am Sorry" in 15 Different Languages

I am sorry
Wǒ hěn bàoqiàn
Jeg er ked af
Het spijt me
Mi bedaŭras
Je suis désolé
Es tut mir leid
Mi dispiace
Jeg beklager
Ya izvinyayus'
Lo siento
Jag är ledsen
*Languages with an asterisk have been transliterated into the Latin (English) alphabet.

Apologize with a gift

11oz Funny Apology Mug - I'm Sorry For What I Said Before I Had My Coffee Color Changing Mug Morphing Coffee Mugs Cup
11oz Funny Apology Mug - I'm Sorry For What I Said Before I Had My Coffee Color Changing Mug Morphing Coffee Mugs Cup
This 11-ounce mug is a magic heat-sensitive novelty mug. It's plain black in color when it's cold, but it turns white and reveals the words of apology when it's filled with a hot beverage.

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments on the subject of apologies. What note-worthy apologies have you given or received?

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    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      4 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Grace. Thanks for your comment. The poem is just meant to be a funny look at apologies. I'm glad your teacher liked it and thought that it was a good way to teach people how to apologize. .

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I'm am an old softy girl and the poems all great and my teacher even thought it's the greatest poem I've ever heard of that's quite good but it was a great poem about how to say sorry because over the people army good at that o thanks by by

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      klaudia punda: I'm sure you have nothing to apologize for. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      klaudia punda 

      5 years ago

      I,m sorry

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my poem, As for Brenda Lee--ah nostalgia. I played that song over and over as I wrote the hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I am an old softy and forgive anyone who even attempts to apologize sincerely. Your poem hits home on the importance of it all. You brought back good memories with Lee's version of I'm Sorry.

    • CatherineGiordano profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Giordano 

      5 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you. Billrrr. Brenda Lee sings that song so well, I can listen to it over and over.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      Nice reference to "Little Miss Dynamite". She is a remarkable person who has had a stellar career. Seems like you are also doing quite well for yourself. Welcome to Hubpages.


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