Getting People’s Attention And Offering Apologies In English

British people usually say ‘Excuse me!’ to attract somebody’s attention. In American English, it is more common to use ‘I beg your pardon!’

Excuse me! Can you tell me where John lives?
I beg your pardon! Can you direct me to the manager’s cabin?


Excuse me! is also used to apologize before interrupting or disturbing somebody. This is common in British English.

Excuse me! Could you move a bit?
Excuse me, could I have a look at your papers?
Sorry, do you think I could lend you pen?
Excuse me, do you know where John lives?
I beg your pardon, could you help me? (formal)

You may say Sorry after interrupting or disturbing somebody.

Oh, sorry, did I hurt you?

I beg your pardon! is a more formal way of saying Sorry.

I beg your pardon! I didn’t realize I was standing on your foot.

Asking Someone to Repeat

Here are phrases commonly used to ask someone to repeat what he has said:

Excuse me, I’m afraid I didn’t understand. Could you repeat that? (formal)
I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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