Difference between Sorry and Apology | Sorry vs Apology

In our life, most of us have said sorry or apologised for something we did wrong. But are these two words the same or have different meanings? Since both these words represent regret, people use these terms interchangeably. But while doing so, they often end up using them in the wrong way. So how would one differentiate between sorry and apology and use them correctly in a sentence? This article will make sure that students understand the difference between ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’.

The English Language consists of words that often seem to confuse people. And most of the time, students get confused between such terms as they don’t know the meaning clearly. This article will cover the following topics to make sure that students understand the difference between ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’.

Table Summarising the Difference between Sorry and Apology




The word sorry is used to express the personal feeling of regret or sympathy.

The word apology is used in a more formal tone when something wrong is done. One might be or not be sorry while apologising.


It is used as an adjective

It is used as a noun


I am sorry for your loss.

Please accept our sincerest apology.

This table shows that though ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’ are ways of expressing regret, they aren’t the same thing and can’t be used synonymously. Students often get confused between these words, but it’s essential that they understand the context they are using it in. Only then can they use these terms correctly.

The Difference between Sorry and Apology – Meaning

You might have seen people saying ‘sorry’ or asking for an ‘apology’, and you might think both are the same. But there’s a subtle difference between these two terms. The word ‘sorry’ is said to express remorse or sympathy. The word ‘sorry’ has a personal essence in it. Whereas the word ‘apology’ is used in a formal tone and used when one has done something wrong. While being apologetic, one might or might not be sorry for what they did wrong. For example, “Sheldon asked for an apology for this rude behaviour though he didn’t regret it.” Another example is “Raj was sorry for not being able to attend his mother’s birthday.” Once students understand this difference, it will be easier for them to use these words accurately.

Example of Sorry and Apology

The following example will help students to better understand the terms ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’.

Sorry – Monica said sorry to her best friend and patched things up.

Apology – Please accept my sincere apology as I couldn’t attend the party yesterday.

Once students understand the meaning of the words ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’, they can quickly form examples on their own.

Sorry and Apology- Conclusion

To sum up, ‘sorry’ and ‘apology’ though are used to express remorse/regret but are not synonymous and can’t be used interchangeably. When one is using these words, one has to understand the context or will end up misusing them. This article talks about the essential points that help one to know how to use these two terms. BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that people often get confused with.

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