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How to Say Sorry in Swedish

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Ever heard of the four stages of culture shock?

They are the four mental states every foreigner goes through when moving to a new country.

Here’s a chart depicting each stage:

Culture Shock

Honeymoon is the period when your stay is all fun and games, and everything is still going as planned. You’re experiencing the “tourist” Sweden and you have no complaints.

Fast-forward to the second or third month, and you’ll slowly but surely start sliding down into the culture shock hole. You start missing home, become sensitive to the more negative aspects of Swedish society, and begin to feel the changes that are taking effect in your life. 

Thereafter comes adjustment, and that’s the period when you have to make the most mistakes and go through the so-called “dumb foreigner syndrome.” During this period, you’ll endure several awkward situations and misunderstandings before you start getting a good grasp of your surroundings. And that’s not just with friends and coworkers who might be more understanding, but also with strangers on public transportation, in elevators, at the supermarket, you name it.

Your saving grace in those instances would be to know how to say sorry in Swedish.

Not only that, but you’ll also want to learn how people respond to that, so you can both understand their response and answer others’ apologies yourself when the situation demands.

Before we get into the best expressions for apologizing in Swedish, here are the most important words and phrases to get you started…

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Swedish Table of Contents
  1. The Words You’ll Need to Say Sorry in Swedish
  2. Take Responsibility
  3. Apologetic Expressions for Formal and Business Situations
  4. Condolences
  5. How to Accept an Apology in Swedish
  6. Conclusion

1. The Words You’ll Need to Say Sorry in Swedish

Shy Japanese Woman

Below are the pillars of apology vocabulary in Swedish. Using these Swedish words for sorry, you can create your own expressions outside those mentioned in this article and better understand others’ apologies. 

Sorry.
Ledsen.

Forgive me.
Förlåt mig.

I apologize.
Jag ber om ursäkt.

I regret.
Jag ångrar.

Now that you’re armed with the essential words and phrases for expressing your apologies, it’s time to use them in context…

2. Take Responsibility

Businessman Questioning Their Responsibility in the Office

The first step in apologizing is to admit your mistake. In some contexts, you may not be fully convinced that you’re in the wrong, but it would still be wise to just take responsibility and move on with your day. This is especially applicable to strangers in situations where you may have stomped on someone’s foot or gotten in someone’s way while driving, for example. 

I’m sorry.
Jag är ledsen.

It’s my fault.
Det är mitt fel.

I won’t do it again.
Jag kommer inte att göra det igen.

I should not have said that.
Jag skulle inte ha sagt det där.

How can I be forgiven?
Hur kan jag bli förlåten?

Taking responsibility is especially a good idea around strangers. It shows respect, saves you time, and can save you from a potential negative interaction in case things get confrontational.

Now that we’ve talked about the most relevant ways to say sorry in Swedish when around strangers in informal contexts, let’s look at the other side of the coin: formal situations. 

3. Apologetic Expressions for Formal and Business Situations

A Businesswoman Giving a Speech

In more professional contexts, you’ll want to use language that’s much more articulate and fitting to your work environment—be it with your coworkers, boss, or even clients.

Humility and responsibility are two key personal characteristics everyone should have in business, especially when present as a foreigner abroad. 

You’ll want to keep a good reputation for yourself as a guest of Sweden. Learning some formal apologetic expressions can go a long way in this regard.

Apologies for any inconvenience.
Jag ber om ursäkt för eventuella besvär.

I’m sorry to inform you that…
Jag är ledsen att behöva meddela dig att…

Please forgive us for…
Var vänlig förlåt oss för…

We offer our sincere apologies for this inconvenience…
Vi ber djupt om ursäkt för de besvär detta orsakar…

A few quick tips for when you need to apologize in a business situation:

  • Do not give any extra explanations after your apology. Keep it straightforward.
  • Let the recipient hear your apology and listen to their reaction.
  • Confirm that you understand their reaction, whether it’s positive or negative.
  • Apologize for your actions, not for how you made others feel or react.
  • Do not wait it out. Apologize as soon as possible so it doesn’t snowball.

Now that we’ve broken down how to say sorry in both formal and informal situations, we can look into even more situation-specific vocabulary. 

The next section is not exactly about how to say sorry, but rather about how to express your condolences to someone. As in other languages, condolences are usually expressed with carefully placed sentences. You do not want to offend or say the wrong thing in those situations, which is why we’ve listed down a few phrases you can feel safe using. 

4. Condolences

A Casket in a Cemetery

I’m sorry for your loss.
Jag beklagar sorgen.

This is the most basic expression, and you can’t go wrong with it. This phrase is easy to remember and it will get the message across every time.

I’m sorry to hear about your loss.
Jag är så ledsen för din förlust.

I am sincerely sorry and sympathize with your grief.
Jag beklagar djupt och sympatiserar uppriktigt med din sorg.

You should know that you are in our thoughts.
Du ska veta att du finns i våra tankar.

I’m so sorry for your loss. If you feel like talking, do not hesitate to call me.
Jag beklagar verkligen din förlust. Om du känner för att prata så tveka inte att ringa mig.

I can’t find any words. You should know that I’m thinking of you.
Jag finner inga ord. Du ska veta att jag tänker på dig.

We will all miss [name]. His legacy will continue through the great love he spread.
Vi kommer alla att sakna [namn]. Hans arv kommer att leva vidare genom den stora kärlek han spred.

[name] existed in so many people’s lives. We will all miss her very much. I’m here for you when you need to talk.
[namn] fanns i så många människors liv. Vi kommer alla att sakna henne djupt. Jag finns här för dig om du behöver prata.

The longer condolence expressions are a great fit if the listener is a close friend or family member of yours. Expressing your condolences more extensively and offering your help show that person you really care. 

5. How to Accept an Apology in Swedish

Asian Woman Giving a Thumbs-up

Now that you’ve learned how to express your apology in different scenarios, you may want to explore what it’s like being on the other end. Swedes make mistakes too, so learning how to accept an apology is just as important as knowing how to make one yourself. 

It’s okay, don’t worry about it.
Det är okej, oroa dig inte för det.

I totally understand.
Jag förstår helt och hållet.

No problem.
Inga problem.

It’s nothing.
Det är inget.

No worries.
Inga bekymmer.

6. Conclusion

Grattis! (Congratulations!) You’re now prepared to tackle those awkward “culture shock” moments, and you’re able to bounce back from any embarrassing situations you go through while in Sweden.

The expressions you’ve learned today will make great additions to your Swedish vocabulary and will help you better understand other expressions you come across. If there are any situations or contexts we haven’t covered here, feel free to let us know—we’d be glad to help you out with more useful apology phrases! 

An apology expression at the right moment can make a huge difference over saying nothing at all, but do you know what would help you have even more control over those situations? 

Learning even more Swedish.

To do that, you’ll want to find a great resource that can help you get the most out of your time.

Language classes could be a viable option, but not all of us have the time to stick to a teacher’s schedule every day or the money to hire a private tutor.

That’s where a program like SwedishPod101 could come in very handy.

SwedishPod101 provides thousands of audio, video, and text lessons available for mobile and desktop. These lessons are designed to help learners at all language levels, and their approach focuses on helping you learn the most in the least amount of time.

The best thing about SwedishPod101 is our up-to-date integrated features such as line-by-line breakdowns, pronunciation comparison tools, and online flashcards.

All of this in addition to the option of getting your own personalized language program makes SwedishPod101 a very viable option for Swedish learners at all learning levels.

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You can click here to sign up now and try it all for yourself.

Happy learning!
Lyckligt lärande!

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