Accessibility links

Breaking News

Apologies and Prepositions

Apologies and Prepositions
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:33 0:00

German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently caused protests with the call for a five-day lockdown over the Easter holiday to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

She reacted to the opposition by apologizing to members of the German parliament: "The mistake is my mistake alone. I ask both the public and you… for forgiveness. "

In an apology, someone takes responsibility for making a mistake. Today, we will look at how we use the verb "apologize" with prepositions and gerunds.

Apologize for (verb +ing)

The most common sentence structure we find with the word "apologize" is: "apologize for (verb +ing)." For example, after an argument with a friend, you might say:

I apologize for being angry last night. Will you forgive me?

It is easy to change this sentence to talk about something you did not do by simply adding the word "not."

I apologize for not coming to your party last weekend. My relatives came to visit.

Apologize for (noun)

The -ing form of a verb is called a gerund. It acts like a noun. We can also use the word "apologize" before a noun, as in this sentence structure: "apologize for (noun)."

Imagine you had to go into a meeting in progress. Then you would say,

I apologize for the rude interruption.

Apologize to (noun)

The third structure you will see with the word "apologize" is "apologize to (noun)." Parents often need to tell their young children to apologize to a friend after a fight.

You should apologize to Sasha. You should not take her toys.


Finally, we can use the word "apologize" alone. An internet company made a mistake and sent out this message to their customers:

There has been an error on our part and we apologize.

Do you believe every apology?

Sometimes people say they are sorry but we do not believe they really feel bad for saying or doing the wrong thing. Here is an example from a popular movie of an apology that may not be sincere.

In the comedy film, A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese plays Archie Leach, and Kevin Kline plays Otto. Otto becomes angry with Archie for saying Otto is crazy. As Otto holds Archie by his feet upside-down from a window, Archie must apologize.

Otto: Now, apologize!

Archie: What me, to you?

Otto: Apologize.

Archie: All right, all right, I apologize.

Otto: You're really sorry.

Archie: I'm really really sorry, I apologize unreservedly.

Otto: You take it back.

Archie: I do… and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

Otto: OK

Now, do you really believe Archie means what he is saying?

I’m Jill Robbins.

Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

lockdownn. a state of restricted movement put in place as a security measure

sincere adj. having or showing true feelings that are expressed in an honest way

rudeadj, not having or showing concern or respect for the rights and feelings of other people; not polite

unreservedly adv. in an unlimited way

slandern. the act of making a false spoken statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone

Have you or someone you know had to apologize lately? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.