Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

To find "I'm sorry but..." extremely irritating?

(43 Posts)
Tuppenceinred Tue 06-Aug-13 23:05:23

So often, when someone has no need to apologise, and isn't actually feeling apologetic at all:
"I'm sorry but I'm not in a position to lend you £100".
"I'm sorry but it isn't convenient to have you to stay next weekend".
If you aren't sorry - don't say you are.

quesadilla Tue 06-Aug-13 23:10:12

YANBU. I have a friend who always says "I'm sorry but.." Followed by something intolerant or critical. It's almost a get out of jail card and it gives people a cue that something nasty or bitchy is about to come out of her mouth.

Most irritating. If you are going to make yourself unpopular or offensive, own it. Or just keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself.

Maybe they are sorry they don't have 100 quid spare. I agree that some people use it irritatingly but those examples aren't.

bananananacoconuts Tue 06-Aug-13 23:14:47

Oh I also hate "I'm not being funny but..."
I'd like to follow it with "i'm not being violent but" Then smack them in the tits!

youmeatsix Tue 06-Aug-13 23:14:48

2nd only to "i dont wish to be rude but........" ermmm yes you do, and saying that doesnt make you any less so!

Tuppenceinred Tue 06-Aug-13 23:15:24

Why be sorry because it isn't convenient for someone to stay? And re lending money, what is there to be sorry about if you aren't in a position to lend it?
All over this forum we've got people saying "I'm sorry but..." when they don't mean it, let's face it, it's true. grin

I'm sorry I don't have 100 quid to dash about. Not sorry for you but sorry, certainly grin

Tuppenceinred Tue 06-Aug-13 23:17:12

I know there is some weird MN rule about not referring to other threads, not even on AIBU where it's supposed to be a bun fight - but read some of the recommended wording of letters, emails and verbal excuses that people trot out here. Be sorry when someone breaks their arm, not when we're telling them that we aren't going to do something they want us to.

ClartyCarol Tue 06-Aug-13 23:20:04

Oh I completely agree with quesadilla - I can't bear that semi belligerent "Well, I'm sorry but... [insert racist/small minded/ ignorant/ petty phrase of choice]." Goes hand in hand with the "I tell it like it is..." turn of phrase.

That bloody Carol Malone used to write it about every fourth line in her newspaper column.

I see the examples in the OP as more in the way of oiling the wheels of social interaction.

LazyMonkeyButler Tue 06-Aug-13 23:21:25

YANBU (although the examples you use wouldn't necessarily annoy me). "I'm sorry but", "I'm not being funny but" etc. etc. are often meant to make the following rude/critical/unkind statement seem reasonable. It doesn't. Ever.

Chaaannggees Tue 06-Aug-13 23:23:19

I'm sorry but is a telling off... I sometimes say it to my teenagers when I'm in schoolma'am mode

"I'm sorry but you're wrong" makes me sooooo stabby. angry

WorraLiberty Tue 06-Aug-13 23:25:11

I'm sorry but YABU...

Maryz Tue 06-Aug-13 23:29:44

Your examples aren't great tbh, because in those the speaker could actually be sorry. "I'm sorry, but I think you are a twat" is a better example.

My pet hate is "No offence ..." Used by my teenagers when they intend to be very offensive hmm

Saffyz Tue 06-Aug-13 23:30:32

How do you know whether people are sorry or not? Someone might actually be sorry they're unable to have you to stay, or lend you money.

Lweji Tue 06-Aug-13 23:31:40

I don't often say it, but it worked brilliantly with my mum once.
She started accepting my "apology" but then I had started saying what I wanted to say.
She was really disconcerted. grin

YABU. It's just a social nicety. Like the poster who said 'anytime' to neighbour about swimming in her swimming pool - she didn't actually mean neighbour could swim in pool at any time, it's just an expression. Or what about 'with respect'? Usually that is followed by something which indicates you don't respect the other person at all, you totally disagree with what they've said, and probably think they're a right dick. There are many many many phrases and expressions like this which we use and need to soften our delivery of whatever we're communicating, especially if it's something negative.

piprabbit Tue 06-Aug-13 23:50:09

In the examples in the OP, I would assume that the person speaking was using a shorthand for:
"I'd gladly lend you £100 if I could. I'm sorry that I'm not in a position to help you" or "I would love to have you to stay but that weekend really isn't convenient. I'm sorry to disappoint you".

The problem comes when people use the "but" to give a reason why they aren't sorry at all.

aldiwhore Tue 06-Aug-13 23:58:16

I'm sorry but I think YABU.

What I mean is that I want to agree with you, I want you to feel right. I AM sorry because I don't think you are. I don't like to rock the boat and you seem nice, so I'll say sorry so you don't think I'm just a blunt bitch who doesn't care.

I agree with piprabbit the "I am sorry but..." when just the apology is required does get tiresome, but sometimes that is valid too.

Recently I called DH a childish name (one I know he hates) I meant the apology BUT I was in the right in general terms, I was sorry (for myself) that I'd stooped to name calling, but not sorry for having the opinion I held wink

steppemum Wed 07-Aug-13 00:32:33

but in all your examples, the person could be genuinely sorry -

I really want to see you and have you to stay, but next weekend just doesn't work, sorry!
Nothing wrong with that?

I would really like to help, I wish I had £100, but sorry i don't

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 00:36:30

My dad does this and I hate it - because he is being rude and is not remotely sorry.

ImNotBloody14 Wed 07-Aug-13 00:43:11

I totally agree OP.

I made a conscious decision last year not to say sorry unless I was actually sorry.

I almost blew a gasket when in an empty bar/café on holiday with dsis earlier in the year. we were the only customers, there were about 15 tables and we were in the middle of lunch. a group of people came in (about 7/8 people) and hovered about our table, hmming and ahhing and eventually all decided to pile into the 4 seater table behind us, pulling chairs over and bumping my sister all the while with dsis getting increasingly peed off. then one of them turned to her and said "it's a bit of a squeeze, you see you are sitting on our regular seat" and Dsis' response? "oh sorry!" shock just because it's been drummed into us all to be ever so polite and apologetic. fuck that! she had no reason to be sorry at all so why say it. and she wasn't sorry- she was pissed off.

I also hate seeing it on posts on MN. things like "sorry but..." or at the end of someone having a go at someone and ending it with sorry as if they were insulting them for their own good!

FloweryOwl Wed 07-Aug-13 01:03:43

It irritates me too. Just like "Then I turned around and said...then she turned around and said..."
As if they started the conversation back to back.

ImNotBloody14 Wed 07-Aug-13 01:28:42

i live and grew up in NI. in certain parts you can be having a conversation with someone that sounds something like this

"so i goes 'aye' and she goes 'no way' and here's me ' i'm serious' and she turns round and tells me 'away on with yerself' so i says 'tell you what about it- ask him yerself' and i dandered on"

confused grin

i regularly find myself wondering who, if anyone, actually went anywhere.

wanderings Wed 07-Aug-13 08:15:04

"I'm sorry, but I never apologise!"

Mind you, I remember my mum saying cheerfully after she had (unfairly) deprived me of something: "I am not in the faintest bit sorry".

Tuppenceinred Wed 07-Aug-13 08:26:21

The examples I gave may not have been particularly strong, but I was trying to resist quoting some real ones from here and getting told off. grin
You know the threads, where a poster has had someone completely take the piss out of them, and others then start suggesting replies - probably at least 50% including the word sorry, or saying I'm sorry but...
And of course the really irritating - for example - "I'm sorry, but that's complete rubbish!" WTF is there to be sorry about when you're making a statement that something is complete rubbish? It's not a situation where you are sorry at all, and it's not smoothing anything over, and it's surely not a social nicety.

ImNotBloody14 Wed 07-Aug-13 11:41:41

i am so with you tuppence grin

mercury7 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:40:36

I realise it's meant to be a nicety, or a way of softening what you are about to say by apologising in advance, but to me it usually sounds unnecessarily apologetic, convoluted and petty, not to mention cliched.

Most of the time it would be better to just come out and say it whatever the thing is
Sometimes it is appropriate to soften a criticism, but something like 'I dont want to offend you but' is preferable

mercury7 Wed 07-Aug-13 12:44:33

Or how about
'unfortunately I am not in a position to lend you a tenner'

there's the acknowledgement that the state of affairs is unfortunate for the would be borrower but no admission of culpability on the part of the refusing lender grin

MrsHoarder Wed 07-Aug-13 12:53:05

I do object to the phrase, but in contexts such as:

"I'm sorry [for joking about rape] but I only meant slags"
"I'm sorry [I broke your priceless heirloom] but it was in the way"
"I'm sorry [I hit you] but you were nagging me"

When someone is saying they would like to help but they can't, that is a reasonable use of the phrase.

AnnabelleLee Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:07

It's called social politeness. Some more people around here should try it.

KellyElly Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:27

It's just a turn of phrase. I'm sorry OP but it doesn't bother me grin

Nagoo Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:27

I always say to DH that 'Sorry but' is no sorry at all.

needaholidaynow Wed 07-Aug-13 14:38:53

"no offence but (insert huge insult)"

Annoying.

needaholidaynow Wed 07-Aug-13 14:40:14

"no offence but (insert huge insult)"

Annoying.

Nagoo Wed 07-Aug-13 15:01:49
bearleftmonkeyright Wed 07-Aug-13 15:09:17

I'm sorry you feel that way hmm really bugs me and is in no way an apology. If someone has upset you and they say in response I'm sorry you feel that way how is that an apology?

FruitOwl Wed 07-Aug-13 15:12:13

Is it not just a polite English thing though? Like when someone walks right into you because they were texting or something and you automatically say "sorry" even though it was totally their fault? (I didn't do this yesterday and then wonder why, oh no).

I'm sure Kate Fox talks about our overuse of "sorry" in her book Watching the English.

PipkinsPal Wed 07-Aug-13 15:14:38

In work I answer the telephone and people say they are sorry to bother me! If they are that sorry, why did they ring in the first place? They are not bothering me, it's my job to answer the phone and try to resolve their queries.

badguider Wed 07-Aug-13 15:19:08

What's wrong with 'i'm sorry but it's not convenient for you to stay next weekend'?

Unless what you really mean is 'fuck off i don't like you and don't ever want you to stay'? grin

but most people who say i'm sorry but it's not convenient in my experience are actually sorry that it isn't convenient... confused

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 07-Aug-13 17:08:48

My ex MIL used to say "no disrespect but..."

As in "no disrespect, but you're a cunt"

SinisterBuggyMonth Wed 07-Aug-13 17:30:30

Can anyone lend me £100?

PaulSmenis Wed 07-Aug-13 17:53:58

I'm sorry but

I'm not being funny, but

I am just being honest

These are all 'polite' ways for people to say something that's quite rude.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now