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5 ways to say “excuse me” in French and be a polite bilingual

5 ways to say “excuse me” in french and be a polite bilingual

Learn how to say “excuse me” in five different ways in French and impress native speakers with your bilingual skills. Be polite and confident!

different ways of saying excuse me in french language

Excuse me in French

Do you want to become a polite bilingual? If you are learning French, knowing how to say “excuse me” in different situations is a must. In French, there are various ways to express this concept depending on the context and the degree of formality. In this blog post, we will explore five ways to say “excuse me” in French and when to use them.


The most typical French word for “forgive me” is “pardon,” which has a wide range of applications. It’s a flexible expression that can be used to convey regret, request more information or draw attention to yourself.

For instance, you can say “Pardon” to express your regret if you unintentionally run into someone on the street.

Similarly to this, you can politely request clarification by asking someone to repeat what they said by saying “Pardon?”

Here’s an example of how to use “Pardon” in a sentence:

When you’re out and about, you may accidentally collide with someone. In such situations, a simple “Pardon me” can go a long way in expressing your regret and acknowledging your mistake.

It’s a courteous and humble way to let the other person know you didn’t intend any harm. Using this phrase, you can show that you are a considerate and empathetic individual who values respect and kindness toward others.


“Excusez-moi” is a more formal way to say “excuse me” in French and it’s often used in professional or official contexts. For example, if you need to get past someone in a crowded room, you can say “Excusez-moi” to politely ask them to move aside.

Similarly, if you need to interrupt a conversation or get someone’s attention in a formal setting you can use this expression.

Here’s an example of how to use “Excusez-moi” in a sentence:

Let’s say you are in a formal meeting and need to ask a question. You could begin by saying “Excusez-moi, monsieur/madame” to get the attention of the person you are addressing and show that you are being respectful of the formal setting. In this context, “Excusez-moi” is an appropriate and polite way to interrupt and ask for clarification or share your thoughts.

Je suis désolé(e)

A more formal approach to apologize in French is to say “Je suis désolé(e),” which is typically used when you wish to convey a greater sense of regret. The English translation of this phrase is “I’m sorry,” and it’s used to express regret and empathy.

For example, if you are late for a meeting, you can say “Je suis désolé(e)” to apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Here’s an example of how to use “Je suis désolé(e)” in a sentence:

Let’s imagine that you have a lunch date with a friend, but you are running late. Je suis désolé(e) d’être en retard is a phrase you can use to express your regret for being late when you arrive.

Je suis désolé(e) is a formal and serious approach to expressing your regret for any inconvenience or dissatisfaction you may have caused. It demonstrates your accountability for your acts and your concern for the feelings of others.

Excuse-moi de te déranger

excuse moi de te déranger

“Excuse-moi de te déranger” is a way to say “excuse me for bothering you” in French, and it’s often used when you want to interrupt someone or ask for a favor. This expression is more informal than “Excusez-moi” and can be used with friends or colleagues.

For example, if you need to ask a coworker for help, you can say “Excuse-moi de te déranger, mais est-ce que tu pourrais m’aider ?” (Excuse me for bothering you, but could you help me?)

Here’s an example of how to use “Excuse-moi de te déranger” in a sentence:

Let’s say you need to call a friend during their workday. You could start the conversation by saying “Excuse-moi de te déranger pendant ton travail” to apologize for interrupting and show that you respect their busy schedule. In this context, “Excuse-moi de te déranger” is a polite and considerate way to acknowledge that you are imposing on their time and to ask for their attention or help.

Veux-tu m’excuser?

“Veux-tu m’excuser?” is a way to say “would you forgive me?” in French, and it’s a more formal way to apologize. This expression is often used when you want to ask for forgiveness after making a mistake. For example, if you accidentally break something that belongs to someone else, you can say “Veux-tu m’excuser?” to ask for forgiveness.

Here’s an example of how to use “Veux-tu m’excuser?” in a sentence:

Let’s say you accidentally spill coffee on your friend’s shirt. You could say “Veux-tu m’excuser pour ça?” to ask for their forgiveness and show that you feel bad about what happened. In this context, “Veux-tu m’excuser?” is a polite and humble way to admit fault and seek reconciliation. It shows that you value your relationship with the other person and are willing to take responsibility for your actions.

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