Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 6: 16/16


I'm sorry for


Verb[て]+ すみません


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About てすみません

てすみません is a grammar construction that expresses the speaker's regret about (A). It is often translated directly to 'I'm sorry for (A)'. As discussed in one of our previous lessons on , we examined the 'since', or 'due to' meaning that it can have. Let's look at a few examples.
  • ()()わせ時間(じかん)(おく)てすみません
    I am sorry for coming later than the arranged meeting time.
  • 息子(むすこ)さん(かみ)ピンクに()てすみません
    I am sorry for dyeing your son's hair pink.
Phrases that use this particular (A) (B) nuance of the て-form primarily express something that is beyond the control of the speaker in the (B) statement. Coming from the verb ()む (to finish), すみません (the negated form) means 'to be unfinished'. In this way, てすみません literally means that the speaker feels that something is 'unfinished due to (A)'. This is very similar to phrases like 'having unfinished business' in English.
  • (はん)(のこ)てすみません
    I am sorry that I didn't eat all the food. (It unfortunately resulted in that I did not finish eating all the food)
Although the translation is 'I'm sorry', perhaps it would be easier to remember this grammar structure as highlighting someone's regret/unfinished feelings about (A), and simply showing that to the person that is being apologized to.




    I'm sorry for eating your cake.


    I am sorry that I am late.


    I am sorry that I gave another person your money.


    I'm sorry for breaking my promise.


    I'm sorry for providing a difficult-to-understand explanation.

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      てすみません – Grammar Discussion

      Most Recent Replies (14 in total)

      • Paulkun


      • deltacat3


        I’m sorry for going dressed this way, since it is a wedding.

        What is the なのに expressing here?

        Also is this the same で as the one that marks means/instruments?

      • Daru


        It’s basically saying ‘in spite of…’ in this case, ‘in spite of this being a wedding’ in a literal sense.

        Yes! It’s basically expressing ‘sorry I came with this look’.

        Putting the...

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