“My Apology” or “My Apologies”?

The phrases “my apology” and “my apologies” are both grammatically correct, but how we use them in sentences can look very different. If you’re looking for another way to say, “I’m sorry,” the correct phrase to use is “my apologies.” If you’re referencing a past apology, the phrase to use is “my apology.”

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What is the difference between “my apology” and “my apologies”?

Have you ever wondered whether it’s more grammatically correct to say “my apology” and “my apologies”? The good news is that either phrase is grammatically correct. But there are circumstances where one phrase is more appropriate than the other. The first step to learning the difference between “my apology” and “my apologies” is to consider their English vocabulary. Either phrase utilizes the word apology as a noun, which we shouldn’t confuse with its verb form, apologize

What does apologize mean?

The verb form of apology or apologies is “apologize,” where it’s defined as an action instead of a state of being (noun) or a description (adjective). The verb apologize describes the act of expressing regret or the act of making an apology.

How to use apologize in a sentence

We can use the word “apologize” in the present tense and “apologized” for the past-tense. If you’d like to use apologize in the present continuous tense, the word you’re looking for is “apologizing.” For future-tense apologize, it’s best to use “apologize.” Let’s take a look at a few example sentences of using apologize in the past, present, and future tenses:

Past: “I apologized to my roommate last night.”
Present: “They apologize for what they have done.” 
“He apologizes for offending you.”
Pres.-continuous: “I am apologizing for poor attendance.”
Future: “You will apologize for the tardiness.” 

What is the synonym of apologize?

There are many ways to describe the act of apologizing, but here are a few verbal synonyms to add to your English vocabulary:

  • To say sorry
  • To express regret or grief
  • To ask or beg for forgiveness
  • To eat humble pie (informal)
  • To eat one’s words (informal)

A few of these infinitive synonyms will look familiar as you learn more about “my apologies” vs. “my apology.” But it’s important to remember how these terms are used as verbs, as opposed to using the word apology as a noun.  

What does “my apologies” mean?

The phrase “my apologies” is an English idiom that is used figuratively in place of “I’m sorry.” We use the idiom to apologize for a mistake that was outside of our control or to recognize an error and accept blame. 

For example,

“I send my apologies to everyone offended by the loud music.”
“To anyone I offended, I send my apologies.”

It’s common to use the idiom “my apologies” similarily to “my bad,” “pardon me,” or “please excuse me.” The key feature of “my apologies,” is that by using plural apologies, you’re also apologizing for multiple errors at once (or at least, the mistakes you suspect to exist). 

For example,

“I cannot make it to the party. Please send the host my apologies.”
My apologies, I didn’t mean to bump into your shopping cart!”

We can also use the phrase “my apologies” to reference the occurrence of multiple apologies in the past tense. Example sentences might include:

“I sent my apologies, but I think they fell on deaf ears.”
“Did you receive my apologies?”

What does “my apology” mean?

We use the phrase “my apology” to references a past apology or a time when you apologized to another person.  Example sentences might include,

“She didn’t accept my apology.” 
My apology didn’t go over very well.” 

The singular form of apology is a noncount noun, which means it represents an abstract quantity that is uncountable. For instance, the word apology is a noncount noun if it’s describing a written letter of apology (featuring several apologies) or an act that is committed unapologetically. 

For example,

“The actor tweeted a note of apology to the fans he had let down.” 
“My cat marches across the keyboard without apology to receive attention.”

What is the definition of apology?

The word apology is a noun that’s defined in four ways:

An admission of offense or error that’s accompanied with an expression of remorse.
For example,

“I owe you an apology for parking in your space, as it was a selfish thing to do.”

A justification that exonerates one from guilt or blame for an offense. 
For example,

“He provided an apology for missing class and explained that his car disabled his ability to attend.” 

A defense or justification of something heavily criticized, such as a theory or doctrine.
For example,

“The professor’s defense of mathematics is an apology for systemic prejudice.” 

An informal noun representing an inadequate example or a poor substitute for something else. “An apology for” is synonymous with phrases like “an excuse for,” “a poor imitation of,” “a caricature of,” or “a mockery of.” 
For example,

“A goldfish is a sad apology for a pet.”

Synonyms

Acknowledgment, admission, alibi, atonement, confession, cop-out, defense, excuse, guise, justification, plea, rationale, reason, reparation, vindication, whitewash. 

Antonyms

Denial, refusal, repudiation. 

What is the definition of apologies?

The word apologies is the plural form of apology. We use the term apologies instead of apology while expressing a formal regret for something we cannot change or help, such as missing a social event. 

For example,

“Our family is unable to attend the ceremony, and we send our deepest apologies.”

Synonyms

Condolences, regrets. 

Etymology of apology and apologies

The word apology is either Middle French apologie or Late Latin as apologia. The word apologia stems from Greek apo- (away) and logia (logos), which translates to “a speech in one’s own defense,” according to Lexico

How to use “my apology” in a sentence?

Sometimes the best way to learn English grammar is to review several example sentences and to look for familiar patterns of speech. For instance, the reoccurring pattern for “my apology” is that it follows a verb in a sentence. In this case, “my apology” acts as a direct or indirect sentence object because it receives a verb’s action. 

For example, 

“I sincerely hope that you accept my apology.”
“Please accept my apology.”
“I extend my apology to the Governor and members of the State Senate.”
“I cannot wait any longer to express my apology.”

The alternate way of using “my apology” is to use it before a verb, or as a sentence subject instead of an object. In this case, “my apology” references an action that occurs in the past-tense.

For example,

My apology did not matter.” (negative past-tenses of “to matter”)
My apology was terrible.” (past-tense affirmative of “to be”)
My apology felt right.” (simple past-tense of “to feel”

How to use “my apologies” in a sentence?

Similar to “my apology,” the phrase “my apologies” can occur as a sentence object if it receives an action from a verb. In this sense, “my apologies” represents a series of past apologies. 

For example,

“I offer my apologies.”
“I hope you’ll receive the warmth of my apologies.”
“I’d like to convey my apologies.”

If you’d like to use a direct substitute for “I’m sorry,” a sentence subject, you can say “my apologies” instead. 

For example,

My apologies for missing the party!” = “I’m sorry for missing the party!”
My apologies to my partner, who wasn’t aware..” = “I’m sorry to my partner…”

It’s also common to read the phrase “my apologies” as it relates to “with apologies to.” In this case, “my apologies” occurs before the name of a creator whose work you intend to parody or adapt. An example of such (my apologies to Sophie Brookover) is shown through a review on Vulture:

“The events of “Uptown” test this question by presenting Rob with a dare-to-be-great situation (my apologies to Lloyd Dobler), providing a welcome…” 

Is saying “my apology” and “my apologies” the best way to apologize?

With the era of social era media and digital news, the act of written apologies has become a lost art. It’s all too common to read a public apology via Twitter and Facebook from politicians or celebrities with phrases like “my apologies,” “my condolences,” or even “…thoughts and prayers.” But do these expressions read as apologetic or apathetic? 

If you’re casually using the phrases “my apology” or “my apologies,” you’re likely apologizing for something that isn’t overly personal or malicious. If you’re apologizing for a slight inconvenience, such as missing an event or bumping into somebody at the store, then either phrase is entirely acceptable.

If you’re apologizing for major wrongdoings that have personally affected somebody else, a casual “my apology” or “my apologies” might not appear as a sincere apology. In this case, you’re likely going to make amends in addition to saying, “I’m sorry.” The difference is that an apology only acknowledges the existence of wrongdoing and an expression of sorrow. In contrast, making amends acknowledges and fixes the mistake in addition to ensuring the error doesn’t happen again. 

How to use “my apology” or “my apologies” in a formal letter of apology

The phrases “my apology” and “my apologies” are appropriate to use in a letter or note of apology as long as it’s submitted to make amends. Apologizing in the form of defense or justification for wrongdoing is not in the essence of a genuine apology. Be sure to include certain points in your formal letter, such as:

  • “I’m sorry.” Period. No justification. 
  • Admit that you’re wrong. 
  • Address the wronged party.
  • Address the specific incident and why it was wrong. 
  • Express why it’s important to fix the mistake.
  • Describe what you can do to fix the error.
  • Ask for forgiveness.
  • Ensure that the error will not occur again.

Formal examples of “my apology” or “my apologies” might include:

“Please accept my apology for….”
“I hope you can accept my apology…” 
“I’d like to offer my apologies to….”

It’s important also to remember that if you’re writing a formal personal apology, you cannot expect anyone to forgive you. This is especially true if the wrongdoing is heinous or a repeated pattern of behavior. Another crucial reminder is that unless you actively strive to avoid making the same mistake, you have not made amends. If you cannot ensure that something will not happen again, do not promise otherwise, and just admit that you’re wrong. 

FAQ: Related to “my apology” and “my apologies

How do you say apology and apologies?

In English, the word apology is always pronounced with four syllables, although the term is said differently by American and British English speakers:

American English: uhh-paa-luh-jee.”
British English:uh-po-luh-jee.” 

Plural apologies is pronounced similarly to the singular apology, except the “jee” is pronounced as “jeez:” 

American English:uhh-paa-luh-jeez.”
British English:uh-po-luh-jeez.” 

How do you spell apologize in the UK?

Similar to words like grey and toward, the word apologize is spelled differently in the United Kingdom. “British English” grammar, as you may call it, spell the verb apologize as apologise, instead. 

Test Yourself!

Test how well you understand the difference between “my apology” and “my apologies” with the following multiple-choice questions: 

  1. We use the phrase _________ to reference a past apology.
    a. My apologies
    b. I apologize
    c. My apology
    d. A and C
  2. We can use the phrase _________ in place of “I’m sorry” is a sentence.
    a. My apology
    b. My apologies
    c. I apologize
    d. B and C
  3. We use the phrase _________ to reference a series of past apologies.
    a. My apologies
    b. I apologize
    c. My apology
    d. A and C
  4. “I offer _________ but also my gratitude for encountering this learning moment.”
    a. My apologies
    b. My apology
    c. An apology
    d. A and C
  5. “She didn’t want to hear _________ of the guilty parties.” 
    a. My apologies 
    b. My apology 
    c. The apologies 
    d. B and C
  6. “It was a mistake, and I sincerely hope that she hears and accepts _________.”
    a. My apologies
    b. My apology
    c. The apologies
    d. A and C

Answers

  1. C
  2. B
  3. D; Apology is also a noncount noun
  4. A
  5. C; “The apologies of the guilty parties.”
  6. B

Sources

  1. Apologize.” Reverso Conjugation, Reverso-Softissimo, 2019.  
  2. Apology.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  3. Apology.” The Merriam-Webster.com Thesaraus, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2020.
  4. Apology.” Collins English Dictionary, Dictionary.com, 2020. 
  5. Apology.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  6. Apologize.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2020.
  7. Brookover, S. “High Fidelity Recap: The Collector.” Vulture, Vox Media Network, 15 Feb 2020.