Excusez mon retard, s’il vous plaît!

Excusez mon retard, s’il vous plaît!

egg-skew-zay maw ruh-TAAR, seel voo PLAY! Click below to hear this pronounced.  

Sorry I’m late!

All those words in French just for a quick little apology?

Well, yes. There are linguistic expectations!

One of the interesting things about French, as compared to English, is that the French language prefers noun constructions, while English prefers verb constructions.

Hence, in French: Excusez mon retard, s’il vous plaît! Forgive my lateness, please! To apologize to a single individual whom you know very well: Excuse mon retard, s’il te plaît! But in English: Sorry I’m late!

This last is very awkward, translated directly into French. You would have to say something like Je m’excuse d’être arrivé en retard, which still only covers you if your sin lay in a late arrival, rather than some other form of lateness such as publishing a blog post later than one’s readers were counting on. In that case you need a different verb: Excusez-moi d’avoir publié mon article en retard, for example.

So forgive me already, please, so I can get on with other tasks!

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