21 August 2012

Say You're Sorry

One of Kevin's cousins (one I don't particularly care for, so after twenty+ years they are still "Kevin's cousin") once made a statement that has puzzled me off and off for years.

"Don't say 'sorry", say 'I apologize'.  YOU'RE not sorry because that is a statement about you.  You're not sorry."

Did you get that?  I'm sure I still don't.

What it means is to say "I apologize for hurting your feelings" instead of "I'm sorry for hurting your feelings." She interpreted "sorry" as a state versus a feeling.  She's technically correct.  Technically.

sorry  (adj.)

1.  feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.: to be sorry to leave 
     one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.
2.  regrettable or deplorable; unfortunate; tragic: a sorry situation; to come to a  
     sorry end.
3.  sorrowful, grieved, or sad: Was she sorry when her brother died?
4.  associated with sorrow; suggestive of grief or suffering; melancholy; dismal.
5.  wretched, poor, useless, or pitiful: a sorry horse.

apologize verb (used without object)

1.  to offer an apology  or excuse for some fault, insult, failure, or injury: He  
    apologized for accusing her falsely.
2.  to make a formal defense in speech or writing.

The concept has just always tripped me up.   I understand that sorry used to be common to describe someone or the state of something. I would wonder if it were a regional thing but they are a part of the family and no one else says it.

Along the same note, a friend a long long time ago mentioned not to say "I'm sorry" when one didn't hear someone, to rather say "Pardon me" or "Excuse me".
Why all the semantics around this, I am unsure.  I just thought it was a strange designation.  This post has no point, really.  I just wanted to put it out into the universe so it will stop taking residence in my head.

And if you haven't checked out Honest Toddler on the twitter or the interwebs, then I am disappointed in you.  (not really.)  He had something to say about "Sorry" the other day: http://honesttoddler.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/not-sorry/
It really has nothing to do with the above but is worth the read all the same.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

Sigh. This kind of thing is exhausting. I've also heard people rejecting sympathetic expressions such as "I'm sorry for your loss," because "What are YOU sorry for, YOU didn't do anything." SIGH SIGH SIGH. Why pretend not to understand word usage? It's like going around saying "That ISN'T 'cool'---it's perfectly warm!" Der.