We use the following words and phrases, Excuse me, Sorry and I beg your pardon almost every day, but most times we interchange them for each other and they still sound nice to the listener.
Well, that might be allowed semantically, but for proper representation and for the sake of good writing we have to align them properly in terms of the syntax structure. So, the onus is on us to properly know how and when to use them, either in the British or American context. Please follow us as we clearly distinguish their usage.
We say excuse me to someone if we want to get the person’s attention or before we do something that might disturb him/her, interrupt him/her, push him/her in a crowd or disagree with him/her.
1 . Excuse me; can I get past, please?
We say sorry (formally) or I beg your pardon when we need to apologise for something:
- Sorry, I did tread on your toe.
- I beg your pardon. I think you were next in queue.
But in American English, pardon me and excuse me are used as apologies.
We say pardon? When we did not hear what someone has said and want them to repeat it. In this case, sorry? is also used in the British English and excuse me? or pardon me? in American English.
We hope we have been able to shed some light on the different contexts of usage of “excuse me”, “sorry” and “I beg your pardon”.
This is the second building block; do keep in touch with us as we intend to lay a solid foundation in the use of English as it relates to problematic words.