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What's the Difference between "Entschuldigung" and "Es tut mir leid" ?

I know that they mean 'sorry', but what's the difference in them, and why are they both appearing in Duolingo? If they mean the same, why does Duolingo say I'm wrong when I write "Entschuldigung" in a place for "Es tut mir leid'? .

June 25, 2018



They are both ways to apologize, but have different meanings as well.

"Entschuldigung" is also "excuse me" or "pardon me". Ex: "Entschuldigung, wie spät ist es?"

"Es tut mir leid" is also "I regret I did that" and sometimes "I regret to hear that". Ex: "Es tut mir leid, dass deine Mannschaft verloren hat."


thank you! danke!


If you need to squeeze by someone on a crowded U-Bahn, you say "Entschuldigung." If you step on their toe, you say "Tut mir leid."


Well I live in Germany and I have witnessed a girl that accidently hit an old lady with her bag and kept repeating ,,Entschuldigung'' over and over again! It confuses me as well but you still make a good point though! I myself use tut mir leid when I do something wrong rather than Entschuldigung!


see my comment below

  • 2098

It might also help to look at how the word and phrase are built. This won't correspond exactly to usage, but I feel it helps give me a sense:

Entschuldigung is ent+schuldig+ung. Ent is like the English prefixes un or de (untie or deconstruct), schuldig is guilty (though it gets used rarely in that form), and ung means a verb has been turned into a noun. So basically you're asking for blame/guilt to be taken away from you.

Es tut mir leid is literally "It does me pain/sorrow/anguish" (leiden, as a verb, can mean to suffer, or also to bear or endure something).

Once again, this won't correspond exactly to usage, but I think you can see how these meanings tie to the examples other people have given.


Well done Rewjeo. I have become comfortable enough to use these phrases, but have always wanted to know exactly how entschuldigung broke down, because it really baffled me at first. Thanks!


Entschuldigung - Sorry! Es tut mir leid - I feel sorry...


"Entschuldigung" is like "Sorry about the bad thing that I did". "Es tut mir leid" is like "Sorry about the bad thing that happened to you".


no, this is not true, at least not completely. "Entschuldigung" is the more general of those two statements. Though it literally means something like "(I beg your) pardon" it need not be about anything bad you did. You usually say it in situations, where you apologize for something that you plan to do (i.e. in advance) that might bother someone (e.g. "Entschuldigung, würden Sie mich bitte durchlassen?" ("I beg ypour pardon, would you please let me pass") , "Entschuldigung, würde es Ihnen etwas ausmachen, wenn ich das Fenster aufmache?" ("Excuse me, would you mind me opening the window?"). You can, however, use it after you have done something bad (afterwards) in order to ask for forgiveness. In these cases it is nearly synonymous to "es tut mir leid". Of course, it is always connected to something that involves you. "Es tut mir leid" (literally something like "I pity it") can be said if you pity (or regret) harm done to another person or thing, which may be caused by yourself but need not. In the first case it is the same as "Entschuldigung" but stresses the point that you are ashamed of it, in the second case it is more like "I pity you".


Would it be correct to say that "Entschuldigung" is "excuse me", while "Es tut mir leid" means "I'm sorry"?


I'm not sure whether there is a one to one correspondence in every situation where it could be used, but from the original meaning of the word)s) I'd tend to agree to this statement.


Entschuldigung is literally "excuse me", and "es tut mir leid" is literally "it causes me sorrow [pain]", so yes, it's (literally) a one to one correspondence (;o))


Yes, if you stick to that, it will be fine. (Although you can say "Entschuldigung" as well when you've done something wrong. But not in all cases where you would say "Tut mir leid")


Danke AHA3006, jt_512, IyadhGm, and floer !

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