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Filipino Lessons » Common Expressions » Saying Sorry and Excusing Oneself

Saying Sorry and Excusing Oneself

Mark Complete

A distinct characteristic of the Filipinos is to remain respectful in whatever situation they may be in. This is revealed by the different ways of saying “excuse me” and “sorry”. Although some of the expression to say sorry may at times be interchangeable with other expressions to excuse oneself, there are expressions that should particularly be used in certain situations.

Trivia:
Filipinos say "Pasénsiya ka na" when guests visit their home and are not able to prepare for it. They usually say this to their visitors when they couldn't provide much food to eat or if the house looks untidy.

Pasénsiya na” is an expression, which is dictated with an apologetic tone, that means “Please be patient (with me)." The word pasénsiyá literally means “patience”. Filipinos use this expression in different situations and can be interchanged with the expression “paumanhín”. On one hand, the phrase pasénsiya na is generally used to acknowledge one’s mistake and ask someone to be patient with you. As you say “pasénsiya na”, it is just ethical to admit and explain the mistake or deed, which might have offended or caused distress to others.

On the other hand, you can ask for an apology to excuse oneself for a mistake or accident that has been done by saying “paumanhín.” You can also use this expression when you have to excuse yourself from a conversation or activity you are currently involved with. "Paumanhín, áalis muna akó," is what Filipinos would tell a person when they want to say that they have to leave and proceed to their next agenda. Meanwhile, the expression “patawad” can be used as well to apologize for a physical injury or emotional pain that you have caused to a person.

In general, Filipinos often use pasénsiya na as the two expressions paumanhín and patawad are a bit too formal. These expressions are more suitable to use for official letters, emails or documents and formal events such as speeches, debates, and lectures. It would be odd to use paumanhín and patawad for casual conversations, but these are still acceptable and can be understood in any circumstance. The expression pasénsiya na would be more appropriate to use for casual and everyday conversations.
Markup
Examples:
Please be patient (with me).
Pasénsiya na
I’m sorry. / Excuse me.
Paumahín.
I’m sorry.
Patawad.
Markup
Examples:
Please be patient (with me).
Pasensiya na
I’m sorry. / Excuse me.
Paumahin.
I’m sorry.
Patawad.
Through the different scenarios below, let’s see how these expressions are used appropriately.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Jane will come in late for a meeting.

Jane: Please be patient with me. I’ll be late for the meeting.



Jane: Pasénsiya na. Mahúhuli ako sa miting.
Scenario: Joe bumps an elderly man while walking.

Joe: I’m sorry, sir.



Joe: Paumanhín pô.
Scenario: Jane apologizes for accidentally hurting her friend Ana while playing.

Jane: I’m sorry, Ana!




Jane: Patawad, Ana!
Scenario: Joe calls his friends and tells them that he will not be able to join them for dinner.

Joe: I'm sorry. I can't join (you all for tonight).



Joe: Pasénsiya na. Hindí ako makákasama (sa inyo ngayóng gabí).
Scenario: Jane writes an official email to apologize for an inconvenience that her client is experiencing.

Jane: I apologize for the inconvenience you are experiencing right now.




Jane: Paumanhín at naháharap ka ngayón sa ganitóng súliranin.
Scenario: Jane leads a prayer and asks for forgiveness from god.

Jane: Forgive us for our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.



Jane: Patawarin niyó kamí sa aming mga sala gaya nang pagpápatawad namin.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Jane will come in late for a meeting.

Jane: Please be patient with me. I’ll be late for the meeting.



Jane: Pasensiya na. Mahuhuli ako sa miting.
Scenario: Joe bumps an elderly man while walking.

Joe: I’m sorry, sir.



Joe: Paumanhin po.
Scenario: Jane apologizes for accidentally hurting her friend Ana while playing.

Jane: I’m sorry, Ana!




Jane: Patawad, Ana!
Scenario: Joe calls his friends and tells them that he will not be able to join them for dinner.

Joe: I'm sorry. I can't join (you all for tonight).



Joe: Pasensiya na. Hindi ako makakasama (sa inyo ngayong gabi).
Scenario: Jane writes an official email to apologize for an inconvenience that her client is experiencing.

Jane: I apologize for the inconvenience you are experiencing right now.




Jane: Paumanhin at nahaharap ka ngayon sa ganitong suliranin.
Scenario: Jane leads a prayer and asks for forgiveness from god.

Jane: Forgive us for our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.



Jane: Patawarin niyo kami sa aming mga sala gaya nang pagpapatawad namin.
When you want to talk to a person for your request to be heard, the expression “mawaláng galang pô.” Oddly, this literally means “May I lose my courtesy,” but is translated to “I beg your pardon.” This expression comes in handy, when you want to ask for directions from someone talking to another person or when you want to talk and be heard in a meeting.
Markup
Examples:
I beg your pardon.
Mawaláng galang pô.
Markup
Examples:
I beg your pardon.
Mawalang galang po.
Let’s try using this in a scenario.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Jane wants to go to the park, but doesn’t exactly know the directions going there. She asks for directions from a person.

Jane: I beg your pardon; how do you get to the park?





Jane: Mawaláng galang pô; paano po pumunta sa parké?
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Jane wants to go to the park, but doesn’t exactly know the directions going there. She asks for directions from a person.

Jane: I beg your pardon; how do you get to the park?





Jane: Mawalang galang po; paano po pumunta sa parke?
Makíkiraán pô” is an expression used to ask for permission to pass through. It means “Please let me pass.” You can say this if you want to pass through a way that is blocked by a person/s, without the intention of interrupting or disturbing them.
Markup
Examples:
Please let me pass.
Makíkiraán pô.
Markup
Examples:
Please let me pass.
Makikiraan po.
Take a look how this expression is used.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Joe wants to pass through a path, where two people are chatting and blocking his way.

Joe: Please let me pass.




Joe: Makíkiraán pô.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: Joe wants to pass through a path, where two people are chatting and blocking his way.

Joe: Please let me pass.




Joe: Makikiraan po.
Sometimes, people talk about stories that are not suitable for certain scenarios. Others might be sensitive to offensive and gruesome stories and may not withstand these matters. As a forewarning to others that an unpleasant situation is about to be heard, be considerate enough to say “Pasintabí pô” beforehand. Depending on the context, this could mean “Please be forewarned” or "Excuse me." This can commonly be heard of when reporters are about to show a unpleasant news in television.
Markup
Examples:
Please be forewarned.
Pasintabì pô.
Markup
Examples:
Please be forewarned.
Pasintabi po.
See this expression in use in a typical scenario.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: A newscaster on the television reports a horrific accident.

Newscaster: For our viewers, please be forewarned that the following images you are about to see may be offensive for some.



Newscaster: Pasintabì pó sa aming mánonoód na ang mga larawang inyóng makikitá ay maaaring maselan para sa ibá.
Scenario: Jane is about to discuss a sensitive topic about obesity.

Jane: Excuse me, but there is a great increase of overweight people and it's important to inform them about this health issue.



Jane: Pasintabì pô, ngunit patuloy po ang pagdami ng mga matatabáng tao at mahalagáng pag-usapan ang pangkalusugang isyung itó.
Markup
Examples:
Scenario: A newscaster on the television reports a horrific accident.

Newscaster: For our viewers, please be forewarned that the following images you are about to see may be offensive for some.



Newscaster: Pasintabi po sa aming manonood na ang mga larawang inyong makikita ay maaaring maselan para sa iba.
Scenario: Jane is about to discuss a sensitive topic about obesity.

Jane: Excuse me, but there is a great increase of overweight people and it's important to inform them about this health issue.



Jane: Pasintabi po, ngunit patuloy po ang pagdami ng mga matatabang tao at mahalagang pag-usapan ang pangkalusugang isyung ito.
Lesson Summary:
Different types of expressions are used to say your apologies and excuse yourself from a situation. There are expressions to be used for
1.) Apologies or asking for forgiveness
2.) Asking for a person to hear you out
3.) Passing through
4.) Forewarning people to prepare and set aside their activities for an unpleasant matter.
Know the most appropriate phrase you should use in different scenarios.


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