How To Say Sorry In Chinese? 8 Best Ways To Be Forgiven

Sorry in Chinese - Ling

Whether you bump into someone or hurt your friends’ feelings by mistake, apologizing with a simple sorry is the least you can do. In this case, knowing how to say sorry in Chinese, can become handy in your relationships with Chinese people. In this blog post, you are going to learn the most commonly used eight phrases to apologize in the Chinese language. Let’s get started by learning some situations in which you need to apologize!

Page Contents:

Know When To Say Sorry In China

You are expected to say sorry in Chinese when…

1. You’ve made a mistake by accident or not.

2. You feel sorry for someone. If someone shared the bad news that happened to them. It’s always polite to express your sympathy with an apology.

3. You want to interrupt someone while they are speaking or you need to ask them a question or favor while they are working or on vacation.

4. You feel embarrassed about something. For example, if you meet someone you have met before but forgot their name, you would apologize.

Say Sorry In Chinese - Sad Chinese girl

How To Say Sorry In Chinese

If you want to sincerely apologize in Chinese, keep it short but mean it! The phrases below are very short and simple but they are guaranteed to work.

1. 对不起 (Duìbuqǐ)

Meaning: Sorry.

对不起 (duìbuqǐ) literally translated to the “inability to face someone.” It’s still used in this sense today. Meanwhile, it is also the most popular phrase to say sorry in Chinese. So, if you’ve done something wrong say 对不起 (duìbuqǐ)!

2. 不好意思 (Bù Hǎo Yì Si)

Meaning: Sorry about that.

The literal translation of this phrase is something like “not good meaning.” I know it doesn’t make any sense this way because it is difficult to directly translate into English. You can also say this phrase when you’re embarrassed or feeling shy.

However, this phrase conveys the slightest degree of feeling sorry in Mandarin Chinese. That’s why it’s only used to apologize for minor mistakes. Additionally, 不好意思 (bù hǎo yì si) is a polite way to get someone’s attention, similar to the phrase “excuse me” in English.

3. 抱歉 (Bàoqiàn)

Meaning: I sincerely apologize.

The term 抱 bào literally means “to embrace,” “to hold,” or “to carry,” while 抱歉 bàoqiàn literally means “to hold regret.” Given its deep meaning, this became one of the go-to expressions of the locals for expressing intense apologies in a formal manner.

Say Sorry In Chinese Chinese co-workers talking to each other

Formal Ways To Say Sorry In Chinese

Here are the Chinese phrases to apologize in formal situations.

4. 我跟你赔礼道歉 (Wǒ Gēn Nǐ Péilǐdàoqiàn)

Meaning: Let me offer my sincere apologies.

赔礼道歉 (péilǐdàoqiàn) literally translates as “to make a formal apology.” This is one of the sincere ways to say sorry in Chinese. It is mainly used in formal situations and when your actions caused a negative outcome.

5. 下次不会再发生了 (Xiàcì Bùhuì Zài Fāshēng Le)

Meaning: It won’t happen again.

You can intensify your apologies by promising not to make the same mistake again. In this case, you can say 下次不会再发生了 (xiàci bùhuì zài fāshēng le).

How Do You Say “My Bad” In Chinese

Here are some phrases to accept your mistake and offer an apology for your mistake.

6. 是我的错 (Shì Wǒ De Cuò)

Meaning: It’s my fault.

When you’ve hurt someone’s feelings, admitting your faults is the first step in apologizing. In the Chinese language, you can say 是我的错 (shì wǒde cuò) to admit your shortcomings and take responsibility for them.

7. 我错了 (Wǒ Cuò Le)

Meaning: My bad.

The phrase 我 错 了(wǒ cuò le) means “I was wrong.” You can use this phrase when you realize your mistake. The closest meaning to this Chinese phrase would be “my bad” in English.

8. 我不是故意的 (Wǒ Bùshì Qùyì De)

Meaning: I didn’t do it on purpose.

If you want to apologize in Chinese for something that you’ve done accidentally, you can say 我不是故意的 (wǒ bùshì gùyì de). It means “I didn’t do it on purpose.” Even if something wasn’t intentional, it is still your fault and hence you owe an apology.


To sum up, let’s see what we’ve covered so far in the vocabulary list below.

Sorry about that.不好意思Bù hǎo yì si
I sincerely apologize.抱歉Bàoqiàn
Let me offer my sincere apologies.我跟你赔礼道歉Wǒ gēn nǐ péilǐdàoqiàn
It won’t happen again.下次不会再发生了Xiàcì bùhuì zài fāshēng le
It’s my fault.是我的错Shì wǒ de cuò)
My bad.我错了Wǒ cuò le
I didn’t do it on purpose.我不是故意的Wǒ bùshì gùyì de

Are you looking for a practical app to learn Chinese at your own pace? Have you heard of Ling? Read below to get started learning Chinese from zero with Ling!

Learn Chinese with Ling

Start Learning Chinese With Ling

If you want to learn Chinese and 60+ other languages, Ling is here for you!

It comes with games, quizzes, a chatbot, and a range of grammar lessons so that you can master any language quickly! Since we understand how difficult learning a new language actually is, we made sure to include gamified features so that you’ll stay entertained and motivated to go through beginner lessons to advanced ones! Additionally, all the lessons are short so you don’t have to commit hours to learn a specific point.

Most Chinese learners chose Ling to help them succeed, so why not join them? Download the Ling app from Google Play Store and Apple App Store now, and start learning Chinese at your own pace!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.