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“My Apology” or “My Apologies”?

Did you do something wrong? An apology might be in order. An apology is an expression of sorrow, regret, or remorse. To apologize, you might send the wronged party an apology letter if you don’t prefer to apologize in person. When you say you’re sorry, the other person may respond best if you choose your words carefully. With that in mind, what is the correct way to express your regrets—my apology or my apologies?

  • My apology and my apologies are both correct, but they are used differently in sentences.
  • My apologies is a way to say you’re sorry about something.
  • My apology is a reference to a previous apology you made.

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My apology or my apologies

Here’s a tip: Use “my apologies” if you want to say you’re sorry.

You use apology in the plural form to express regret for being unable to do something. This is the context where you use the phrase “my apologies.” Here are some example sentences:

Joan made her apologies for the delay and left the room.

Please accept my apologies for not being able to attend your retirement dinner.

You can also use “my apologies” as a direct substitute for “I’m sorry.”

My apologies. I seem to have misplaced the book you lent me.

Does that mean it is wrong to say “my apology”? No, if you are making a verbal or written statement to say you’re sorry, apology might be singular or plural. “My apology” would be a personal statement for a specific incident:

The public radio station aired my apology for the mistake.

The public radio station aired the apologies of the guilty parties, but the town was still outraged.

Apology is a noncount or mass noun if you’re referring to a note of apology or doing something without apology.

The company sent a letter of apology for inconvenience caused by the construction.

The toddler trod across my toes without apology in her quest to capture the butterfly.

Examples of my apology and my apologies

If you look at “my apology” or “my apologies” in a sentence or two, it’s easier to get a sense of how to use the phrases. Here are some examples from books:

“Didn’t you know that, Tobias?”

“No, I wasn’t aware.” He grins. “My apologies.”

Veronica Roth, Insurgent

I admitted mistakes I hadn’t made, intentions I’d never had. Whenever she turned cold and hard, I begged her to be good to me again, to forgive me and love me. Sometimes I had the feeling that she hurt herself when she turned cold and rigid. As if what she was yearning for was the warmth of my apologies, protestations, and entreaties.
Bernhard Schlink, The Reader

But I should say at once that my defense of mathematics will be a defense of myself, and that my apology is bound to be to some extent egotistical.
G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician's Apology

But my apology was a thousand apologies.
Deb Caletti, Stay

To say you’re sorry, you might offer your personal apology. However, the expression “my apologies” is used specifically to express regret for not being able to do a certain thing. Just remember to keep apology singular if you are using it as a noncount noun, as in “letter of apology.”

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