LO+SIENTOIn Spanish we can use three different expressions to apologize for something we did wrong or some accident or disturbance that we cause: lo siento, perdón and disculpe (“I’m sorry”/“excuse me”). For the most part, they can be used interchangeably as they have almost the same meaning. Let’s see some examples…


When should we use “lo siento”?

  • Lo siento pero no puedo contarte lo que pasó en la boda = I’m sorry but I can’t tell you what happened at the wedding (you can’t tell a secret or a confidence).
  • ¡Lo siento! No quería ofenderte = I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to upset you (when you do something but it is not your intention).
  • ¡Lo siento mucho! Tu padre era una gran persona = I’m so sorry! Your father was a great person (when you offer condolences).

When should we use “disculpa (tú) / disculpe (usted)“?

  • ¡Disculpa / Disculpe! = Excuse me! / Pardon me! (when you want to get the attention of someone / when you enter in a place of formality, in the sense of asking permission to come in).
  • Disculpe! ¿Podría abrirme la puerta, por favor? = Excuse me! Could you please open the door? (when asking a favor).
  • Disculpe, ¿sabe cómo llegar a la calle Goya? = Excuse me, do you know how to get to Goya Street? (when you ask for the address of a place).
  • Patricia me pidió que la disculpara por no haber podido estar presente aquí = Patricia asked me to apologize for her not being able to be here.

When should we use “perdón“?

  • Perdona, no volverá a ocurrir = I’m sorry, it won’t happen again (if you say or do something wrong).
  • El lunes pasado vi a Susana, ¡perdón, a Ana!, en la piscina = Last Monday I saw Susana, ¡I mean Ana!, at the swimming pool (you say “perdón” instead of “¡digo!” in terms of “I mean to say”).

Here you have some useful Spanish expressions regarding this topic:

  • ¡Lo siento muchísimo! = I’m so sorry! / I’m very sorry!
  • ¡Cuánto lo siento! = How sorry I am!
  • Te debo una disculpa = I owe you an apology
  • Lo lamento mucho = I’m terribly sorry
  • Siento lo ocurridoI’m sorry about what happened
  • Perdón por llegar tarde = Sorry/excuse me for being late
  • No hace falta que te disculpes = There’s no need to apologize
  • No debería de haber dicho eso = I shouldn’t have said that
  • Me equivoqué; fue culpa mía = I was wrong; it was my fault
  • No hay excusa para mi comportamiento = There is no excuse for my behaviour

Do you like music? Listen to this beautiful song called “Perdóname” (Forgive me) by the Spanish singer Pablo Alborán and the Portuguese fado singer Carminho.