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Okay, we'll just drop all the scenes with Mercutio'," he adds. A group of pharmaceutical bosses once took bowing to a legendary level when they dropped to their knees and touched their noses to the floor after supplying HIV-tainted blood products. Television and social media have made it all the more important to convince a Japanese public sensitive to visual cues, says Mitsuru Fukuda, a professor of crisis management and risk communications at Nihon University in Tokyo.

Business communication specialist Yasuyuki Mogi adds: "Unless words of apology are at the forefront, many Japanese feel it lacks sincerity. The boss of disgraced auto parts maker Takata chopped his own pay in half for several months after an exploding airbag crisis was linked to at least five deaths, while the top brass at Sony went without bonuses to atone for awful financial results. It's not just the Japanese who recognise the important of the bow. Korea Football Association President Chung Mong-Gyu and committee members bow to make an apology to the nation after a press conference.

But it will certainly sting in the short run. Japanese CEOs tend to be rank-and-file company veterans who worked their way up the ladder and are paid much less than overseas counterparts with their boatload of stock options -- and egos to match. Casanova's performance got mixed reviews from apology watchers.

Some say her foreigner status doomed her chances of being convincing, but others thought her gender could mean reporters would have been easier on her.


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But even a picture-perfect effort on Casanova's part might not have helped much to make up for mounting losses and allay public concerns after a string of food scares, including the human tooth found in a box of french fries, says Jeff Kingston, a professor of Asian Studies at Temple University's Tokyo campus. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options. Search icon A magnifying glass.

It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Peter Brieger , AFP. Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url.

Email icon An envelope. I agree; it reminds me of the claim that a war is caused by the people defending their country against an invasion. Additional apology point…. There are two kinds of apologies. Two is purposeful but wrong or later I determine it is wrong.

I believe these things take different forms of apology. For accident, that apology needs to be made as soon as you find out about it. Format is not as important as immediate response. How careless of me! Let me get your cleaning bill. I am so sorry. For purposeful, but mistaken, the same behavior is insulting. You were kind, considerate, innocent, and virtuous the whole time, and I was too blind to see that. Please forgive my ugly behavior. The 2nd requires a deliberate, careful, probably slow approach.

The accidental one… well, your head may have been fine or not present…but your heart was not aimed against the person you need to give an apology to. Then in all seriousness, you need to do some reading on PTSD, the cognitive effects of hyper- and hypoglycemia, the psychological side effects of chemotherapy, and a bunch more.

Our choices are always constrained, and sometimes the constraints narrow to just one feasible choice. You are addressing us from a position of both privilege and ignorance here, and need to be heeding things people are telling you about lives not your own. I also strongly disagree with this. I am sorry to hurt others unintentionally, and want them to know so and then act in accordance with my better intentions in the future. Telzyln: That seems like a good, useful, and important distinction, yeah.

Summary: the average goes up, with interesting correlations and implications. That is, a different kind of presentation measurably changes the choices students make in response. I have to just express curiosity here. However, did a certain someone go out and offend the same groups of people all over again this weekend? My target can, according to you, be like the Buddha and choose not to feel anger at my intended or careless offense. Therefore, an apology is never necessary. If I deliberately say something hurtful, is not my target choosing to be hurt by it rather than smiling?

After all, in this view, the focus is on my intent to act. I chose to utter the words, just as I chose to step backward in line, and I am responsible for them. Kenneth B: have to agree with mythago and Baughblog on this one. I agree, and I always apologize in that circumstance. People can choose how they respond. Which, as I noted in earlier comments, is exactly what I do. Like my pain meant nothing. The freedom to choose our response resides in that second gap. Those factors may make the choice more difficult, but they never remove the choice entirely.

She learned the art of the backhanded apology from my grandmother. A great example of that is the situation, years ago, when my mother went to visit my grandmother. They got into an argument, and my grandmother asked her to leave. She reconciled with my grandmother shortly thereafter. So yes, the umbrella wielder is culpable in this case. Kenneth B. The person you offended deliberately had the same choice to decline anger as the person you offended innocuously. That is the point of your tale about the Buddha.

You do not owe an apology; rather it is up to the person you offended to decline to be angry. He did not claim that because he was able to cling to hope in Auschwitz that everybody therefore has nigh-Vulcan control of their emotions in lesser circumstances. He offered ways of coping with difficult circumstance, not criticism that those who feel despair ought to get a grip. My breakthrough in dealing with all of these came a few years ago when I discovered that, though I could not control the feelings of depression, anxiety, etc. If they can choose to respond positively to their situation, then I think it is reasonable to believe that anyone can.

There are two separate issues here:. As I noted in my original post, I do give an apology in the situation mentioned. If a person has taken offense at something that I said or did and I did not intend to give offense or could reasonably know that offense was possible, I am not culpable for the offense, therefor an apology is not merited. In short, I will give an honest apology because it is the human and civil thing to do, even thought I cannot honestly accept culpability for the offense. Thus, there is no contradiction. It is solely dependent on whether or not I intended offense or could reasonably know that offense was possible.

I would still be culpable, and my words acts would still merit an apology even if they did not get offended by them. I think an important distinction may have been lost in this discussion, most likely due to my not communicating it clearly. There are three propositions:. Proposition 1 to me is uncontroversial. This is one of the goals of Stoic practice and one of the goals of mindfulness meditation as well. See MNmom at 2. Say what you did that was wrong. Explain why it was wrong. Repeat words of apology.

Todd: All good, but I think it is important to ask the offended party for their forgiveness. You give the apology because you owe it. As I read, I see that others have mentioned this point, notably David at , and Cally at Kenneth B — … My breakthrough in dealing with all of these came a few years ago when I discovered that, though I could not control the feelings of depression, anxiety, etc. Man is not a reasonable animal. Man is barely, sometimes, a reasoning animal. Mostly humans are emotional, rationalizing animals; and that is anything but reasonable.

Yes, we all have the potential to be saints. Arguing that there are saints and the rest of us fail to meet that standard is probably reasonable. Claiming that anyone can be a saint is also reasonable. Expecting them to be so is not reasonable. Sorry about the snippiness, John and everyone — I started letting my anger get the better of me. I struggle with apologies on a regular basis. I think, in part, that struggle is bound up in fear of disproportionate reprisal. The most notable one, which I still see on a regular basis, is when I apologize for passing on incorrect information.

I need to get over that. Just another hurdle in the path of life. So far it has worked for me. There may be only reasoned opinion. I would hope that others would grant me the same courtesy. I think we agree on that point. This is a wonderful description of the purpose and presentation of a proper apology. I have only one disagreement with it. I have heard all the arguments against passive construction, and concluded that there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is part of good, clear writing.

Here are two passives that seem fine to me. I know it will take a lot of work for these wrongs to be completely addressed. I intend to spend the time it will take, and I hope you will be willing to let me do so. There is no avoidance of agency, here. Of course, if you want to make your apologies completely active, there is nothing wrong with that. I honestly am puzzled by how personally some people have taken this matter, and by the passion of some of the responses.

Going a bit meta here: I had no intention of causing offense, and I had no idea that what I said would cause offense. Passive voice, in this instance, detracts from the direct statement with unnecessary qualifications. Does that help? My answer to 1 is no, she was not culpable since she did not intend offense and could not reasonably know that offense was possible. Your apology may be accepted….

But an accidental offense can still be very bad and require the careful, elaborate apology outlined by our host. There are a couple of things I argued. I used the buddhist quote, the Marcus Aurelius quote, and Frankl as support for this. I elaborated on the fact that while people can choose their responses they may not be aware of this fact, and even if they are aware may not act on it. What further work do I need to show here? There really two separate but kind of related issues.

My mistake was discussing them in the same responses, which could lead people to believe I saw 2 as depending on 1. My culpability only depends on whether or not I intended to cause offense or that could reasonably know that what I said or did might cause offense. If someone takes offense after I have done or said something, I only have to process two questions. Did I intend to give offense? I can dispense with this one quickly since I almost never set out to offend someone.

That one rarely takes a couple of seconds to answer. I would say the same kind of thing if they were distressed because they got a bad medical report, they lost their job, or were victim of any distressing words or events that had nothing to do with me. So why is it you are culpable for an unintended physical offense, but not for a verbal one?

I can be sorry that the person is distressed regardless of the cause of the distress. In fact, not only could I reasonably be expected to know it, I do know it. In the case of the slur, I neither knew nor could reasonably have been expected to know that it was a slur. In the first case, stepping on a foot, I knew that the act would cause offense, but I did not intend to commit the act. In the second case, I did not know that the act would cause offense, but I did intend to commit the act. In my opinion my culpability is determined by my intent to offend or my knowledge of the possibility of offense.

In the case of stepping on the foot, I had knowledge of the possibility of offense; in the case of the slur, I did not. Person A sees Person B standing on the curb. Person A has a vendetta against person A, so person A drives up on the curb, striking Person B with the car and injuring or killing them.

They are paying full attention to the road and their surroundings. A pedestrian is standing on the curb. Person A is texting on their cell phone or Persona A has been drinking and is impaired. In situation 2, person A is culpable because, though they did not intend to kill person B, they engaged in activities that they knew were likely to impair their driving ability and therefore injure or kill someone.

Account Options

In situation 3, person A does not owe anyone an apology because person B neither intended to cause the injury, nor engaged in behavior that they should have reasonably know would possibly lead to injury. In the first case, you are willing to be culpable, but in the second, you are not. In both cases, your lack of specific knowledge where the foot is or that X is a racist term should either trump your general knowledge about stepping on feet or using racist slurs , or it should not.

To acknowledge that you are culpable in the accidental foot-stepping but not in the accidental slur-using seems inconsistent to me. Is your argument that you cannot reasonably be expected to know which words are racial slurs, but you can be reasonably expected to know where feet are? I see your point. I should turn around and see if anyone is behind me before I head in that direction.

A Proposed Letter of Apology to Pope Francis from the GC President | Adventist Today

I can reasonably be expected to be aware of my surroundings. People usually learn that words are offensive or slurs on a one by one basis. Vis JS above Just from skimming a bit nothing worth reading in my drunken opinion. I get two ideas. The reason for a cease-fire is to get more ammo to the front and the reason people answer a q. I was trying to do the babies stop crying when you record and play back on person. Baby apparently says WTF!?!? That was such an ouch. Actually, in law, intent is kind of magic, and it is used to determine culpability all the time.

See my comment here for further explanation. This entire thread has been you, frozen in place, processing. Richard, you only objected to one of my passives. If the reputation was damaged by rudeness instead of bumbling, perhaps that would own the wrong better. Was the other passive okay in your opinion, or were you leaving it out to keep your message focused on just the one?

Time to pack it in for the night. I really enjoy thinking out loud, bouncing ideas off people, and thinking about their responses. For me, writing like this is how I clarify my thinking, and the feedback from others really helps in that regard. Always a good thing. And many thanks to our gracious host for letting me ramble on and think out loud. And for those of you who expressed a passionate concern that you apologize when your words offend someone, let me assure you that your harsh words toward me did not offend me in the least.

No apologies necessary. If you are in a situation and your actions cause someone else distress, no matter how inadvertent or unintended, the stand up thing to do, the right thing to do, the moral thing to do is to offer an apology to the injured party. To let them know that you genuinely regret their distress and that you regret your part, however inadvertent, in causing that distress. I say you should apologise. Can I get you a chair or a glass of water or something while you recover? Well guess what? Some emotional scars are just as painful as burns.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can destroy my life, if applied just right. This is problematic. None of the issues with this philosophy are really going to come from the instances where you do share a genuine apology. At the very least, you recognize that this is a common tactic for people to obfuscate their culpability, yes?

This leaves you the judge of yourself in terms of responsbility to others. Particularly subconsciously. I mean, people lie to their diaries, you know? By listening to the concern, making myself aware of the mistake, apologizing and then by demonstrating in the future that I am willing to amend my behavior.

Because, I am absolutely sorry that any action I took caused someone offense. Particularly if it was careless or unwitting. If I engage in a relationship — even something as small as a short interaction — with a person, I see part of the responsibility of that engagement to be respectful and mindful of the impact my actions have on them.

But, I also some disconcerting blurriness. Not everything that looks offensive is meant to offend. Sometimes it just reflects our human ignorance, not knowing. A lot of people violate others in some way and cannot handle it when that same person does something they feel offended by. But Person A feels Person B should apologize, when in fact Person B had overlooked previous minor issues done by person A that might have been offensive. Sometimes people do things in response to what we may have previously done, even if we were oblivious to what we previously did.

The need for apologies is often two-sided. Someone may take offense and respond as if they were the only wounded person, but later learn their reason for being offended was more about them and not strictly based on the action of someone else. Just joshing, mostly agree, but a few dissenting opinions:. But really, having your heartfelt apology defanged is even more humiliating than the apology itself.

No one is obligated to accept an apology, but undermining it is unintentionally contemptuous. For example, I can empathize with pacifist even if I fight for my country. Infuriates me….. In this case there is neither culpability nor anything for which to apologize. The actions leading to injury or death were entirely that of the pedestrian. For me it would depend on whether the apologist was sorry what they did caused me harm or whether the apologist is sorry I was the sort of person who would be harmed by it. Big difference. Jenny: Again, the cause of your transgression rudeness vs.

That sentence, by itself, completely manages to avoid acknowledging who should have to address the problem. It takes an entire additional sentence, I intend to spend the time it will take… and by that point, it sounds pretty diluted. The longer the passive voice takes to get to the point, the weaker the apology sounds. Truthfully, when I do have to make an apology, I am not usually thinking about grammatical choices anyway.

I tend to focus more on being abject. This is where I say something I will probably have to either apologise for, or at the very least, look like an asshat..

A-Rod issues hand-written letter of apology to fans

The short version? Be considerate of how those actions affect others. Be contrite when you harm others, even if accidentally. The logic is still the same, regardless of whether my speech at 2 intended offense or whether I had the slightest idea that my words would cause offense. John, I would be interested in your thoughts on using a transparently insincere apology as a direct insult. Does it only make you look like the assbag if you try to hide the insincerity? Given that the entirely reasonable comment following that preface rather clearly neither merited an apology nor made you look like an asshat, the preface itself makes it sound as if you are assuming that your audience will be offended regardless, which is sort of passive-aggressively insulting.

Unless I totally misread the meaning of the preface, in which case, my mistake. No, but you do need to be at least partly responsible to be sincerely sorry for the consequences of your own actions, even if you stand by them as the right decision. Thanks to Kenneth B. Anyway, I wonder how universal this post is. Maybe the reason that we now sneer at quotations from Marcus Aurelius is that the parameters of apology, culpability, and contrition are far more culture-bound than we give them credit for.

Without that allegedly useless apology, I would sound like I am correcting a social inferior and want to be done with it; with it, I mark the exchange as being between equals and wishing it continues. Now this post tries as, to be fair, I have seen many others do before to also insist our contrition better be full and genuine, without apologetics in their original definition , nor asking that the blame be more fairly apportioned — or else we might as well not even bother, our two moral choices being these extremes of enlightenment and villainy.

Professional Apology Letter

I remain skeptical. I have not been convinced of the social utility of this style of apology in every context. Likewise, the idea that relative social standing marked by class or age or rank play no role in determining who apologizes to whom and using what words is a fairly new one, privileging individualistic over communitarian concerns.


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  7. Much as my Old World peasant grandmas may offend me with their various prejudices and critical advice, I will be the one apologizing to them every time I fail to politely conceal my hurt and disagreement. Many would. Certainly where intimate relationships are concerned — happy wife happy life I say! Here endeth the lesson. Also, there are times when I choose to simply apologize on behalf of the whole rest of the human race for all of us failing someone because we should never have let it come to that.

    Considering the background to this post ie Hugh Howey [The rest of this comment deleted because this erroneous, see my comment below assumption on the part of Mr. Williams is used as a springboard to try to launch a discussion subject that is not on point to the entry and thus is likely to derail the thread — JS].

    I think a lot of the confusion here comes from conflating 1 I did something wrong with 2 I caused someone injury. If I make a joke about walruses eating people and I then find out someone in my audience was savaged by a walrus, I have caused someone injury, but arguably I have not done anything wrong.

    If you want to argue that I am not apologizing, but doing something else, then I think we are getting into semantics here. In fact I had been planning this piece for a while, so Hughes recent events, while timely, were not the genesis. More generally, in the future, try not to derail comment threads into another subject entirely. Restitution is part of a good apology. Not all crimes can be ameliorated, but some can. Unless whatever restitution that can be made has been at least attempted, the apology is insincere.

    I hurt you. Thank you John for a very interesting view into the art of North-American apology writing. On the moral and philosophical aspects, I mostly agree both with you and with Kenneth B. What intrigues me as a bystander is the apparent? Why should there be symmetry? An apology is about what you do, not what is done to you.

    And I do not get the over-analysis of exact percent of blame. At that point I lie, because fuck it, nobody here is a telepath. The ability to acknowledge that you did wrong is a huge step in becoming a better person. But it seem to me that in an apology, the focus should be on you or me or whoever , the person apologizing and taking responsibility. Take a knee, and give yourself to the wounded one for judgement. I think if you take that example outside of the you-called-me-a-racist setting its absurdity becomes apparent. It is accepting that the other is hurt, even if you did not do a wrong.

    Mythago : Of course not. But it has been repeatedly suggested that the sole existence of hurt feelings might be sufficient to justify an apology ; so I guess my question is : if so, why not both ways? David : It is indeed quite obvious that different cultures have different standards for offense given and apologies required. It only becomes problematic when one culture tries to impose its own latest standards of political correctness on the rest of the civilized world, or in inter-cultural contexts, such as a WorldCon. Eric Picholle, maybe it will go both ways, maybe not. If you are truly sorry for what you did, figure out what you might do to improve the situation yourself.

    What I did was wrong. How can I make amends to you? How could I restore your confidence in me? Help me think of ways I can change my behavior. It will require mercy on your part, but my sincere desire is that you will forgive me and we can continue our relationship.

    Inadvertently hurting someone, even if one is well-intentioned, is not the same as upsetting someone by drawing attention to the fact that they have hurt someone else. Turn it around for a minute. We agree, I think, that if you step on my foot on purpose that you should apologize, right? But what if you step on my foot because you are trying to stop me from stealing your wallet?

    The rule remains good. May I ask a question somewhat related to this? I offended a patron in the library I work in today over something I said or rather omitted , and while I was sorry that they had the reaction they had, my motivation for what I said is not something I feel a great deal of remorse over and I am concerned that this is the wrong reaction to have. I was wondering if you might offer advice or a suggestion for when it occurs again. My job at the library is at the circulation desk, and as you might imagine is largely customer service based. This became an issue today when the person approached the desk.

    I know that my verbal response was the wrong one to make, but should I feel bad about feeling the way I do about this particular question? Is there something else I can say to people who ask this to acknowledge their question without having to answer it and avoid offending them at the same time? What can I do for you today? Shaking hands is a ritual social exchange in which two people acknowledge each other and can then move on to whatever comes next. Just maybe come up with a couple of alternatives you can use more or less automatically when such occasions arise. Can I help you with something?

    Echoing what BW said, words sometimes have non-literal meanings. The shorthand is simply more expedient. This is the problem with mind-reading. We know what we think something means, but not everyone subscribes to the same etiquette conventions. My rule of thumb in personal interactions is to simply take people at face value. Reader approaches someone else also reading.

    Laura — FWIW I know that in any kind of customer service the general idea is that you satisfy the customer BUT It seems to me your customer ignored you as a person, as well as your input for the conversation, and proceeded in whatever direction they liked. Which happened to be entirely unrelated to the place of business.

    Your obligation is to provide quality service in relation to the procurement of books. It sounds like you already generally take precautions to mitigate any uncomfortable moments certain social exchanges generate for you. You have no obligation beyond that to provide customer service by engaging in forced conversation with chatty, self involved customers. Mythago : Inadvertently hurting someone, even if one is well-intentioned, is not the same as upsetting someone by drawing attention to the fact that they have hurt someone else. Granted, of course. These are objective facts, which leave little room to interpretation, so clearly cut rules can apply, including a rather simple appreciation of proportionate response.

    On the other hand, supposedly racist and sexist behaviours can be quite subjective or at least, their appreciation can ; moreover, they are also a lot more likely to trigger emotion- and ideology-driven, thus disproportionate, responses. My sense of my own general reluctance to sincere apology is not aversion to humility, but of the reluctance to asymmetrically offer up my own portion of responsibility for a bad situation where I fear the other party will not reciprocate.

    I guess what I am saying is that I find genuine and sincere apology easy when I am the one in the wrong, but very difficult when things are complicated. Hah, this is how my day has gone. At work, there are two different people a guy and a girl who keep shipping us paperwork full of errors. One of them the woman is new at her job and wrote back and apologized and is already improving. As you suggest, however, I should probably just grit my teeth and endure it, but it just irritates me, this imbalance of power in customer service, and the act of forcing me to put on a happy face and lie is dehumanizing regardless.

    Laura: I know that my verbal response was the wrong one to make, but should I feel bad about feeling the way I do about this particular question? You basically have two options: alter how you relate to the question or find a way to answer the question in a way that works for you, which you captured quite nicely with your two questions above. Should you feel bad? I try to make a point to NOT treat people in the service industry as automatons.

    I try to make a point to engage my waiter or waitress, for example. I know someone who is way, way over on the extroverted end of the spectrum. So then the thing to do would be look for ways to manage your discomfort, come up with something, at the very least, that you could say or do, that would help you manage the discomfort.

    And then you commit that response to rote. Or, as the second part of your question leads to, push the responsibility of offense back onto the person who was first offended. More than that, I see apologies as part of a learning process. In those instances, one has decided the remarks are innocent and so the responsibility lies with everyone else to accept that.

    Communication is an engaged process. If the mutual interaction is so abrasive, accept your part and move on. The onus of an apology is about your failings. And who you choose to continue to interact with has little to do with any responsibility for apologies. As far as people not being good apologizers when it comes to declaring their offense, well.

    People who are offended have a right to get upset.

    But, you know. Bill: one has decided the remarks are innocent and so the responsibility lies with everyone else to accept that. They could even apologize still holding that their intent was innocent. Picholle: the fact that having this person calling me a sexist, or a racist, or a generally a wrongdoer is also likely to hurt my feelings.

    An apology is on some level an act of generosity. Alice could innocently say something that offended Bob. Bob may or may not toss a fit and call Alice all manner of names. Alice could realize that her original statement offended Bob, and apologize for the offense, hurt, etc that she unintentionally caused. If Alice wants symmetry , then Alice is in fact, looking for quid pro quo as Scalzi pointed out.

    1: It makes employees unhappy

    An apology is to take responsibility for your actions regardless of any response they generated. It is to acknowledge that your words had an effect, a cost, that you did not intend, or at the very least, that you intended at the time, but looking back, you wish you could undo. An apology is, ultimately, an act of generosity specifically because it rises above keeping count, it rises above an eye for an eye. I agree. And in certain cases, world views are never going to match up. But, I allow for that by noting that the person does not have to continue the association.

    Or, in starker circumstances, to subject themselves to a person unfairly characterizing their statements. Take words out of context, or twist words. My skeptical meter skews the conversation a different way. And even then, apologize for the offense while maintaining the belief it was a misunderstanding. But, discontinue the association. Often, the choice is made to insist on continuing the engagement, but that the initially offended party be made to correct their world view. Which is problematic. If someone makes you aware something you say means something else to them, apologize and choose to refrain saying that to them, or discontinue the association if it is too intrinsic to your understanding of yourself to be able to remove from your lexicon of phraseology, right?

    Not I, the person who was asking how you are may have intended it that way. I meant it only as an alternative interpretation of their possible motives to demonstrate that there was no way of really knowing. Entirely agree. Okay, in that context, does not equal fine. This is not for everyone, nor is it for me in situations where the person is being actively hostile, creepy or otherwise taking advantage of my inability to walk away. But for mere stupidity, I find the only solution with an acceptable outcome is to ignore it. On the contrary, like most disagreements, this can be quite subjective.

    Perhaps, in your view, I really did hurt you with my pointy heels, and am making it worse with my attitude that you should get over it already and that I am the real victim here. Are there people who are quick to take offense and react disproportionately to any slight? I interpreted some of what I skimmed through above as being similar to when some — usually younger than thirty — somebody gets ticked off at me for my not hearing them when they looked at the floor and mumble.

    A beautiful piece, except for the mind-bogglingly misguided misunderstanding of the passive voice. Professor Geoffrey Pullum, co-author of the The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language , is a particularly staunch defender of the passive, and is particularly fond of calling out misguided criticism. For those who are interested in learning something about the actual pros and cons of the passive, as opposed to the normal superstitious BS commonly found in newsrooms around the country, I highly recommend Dr. Are they holding your books hostage? Was there a gun to your head?

    Do they have evidence of a time when you were young and experimenting with slang? What fiendish pressure did they bring to bear that made you do this? Are they listening now? This is a time for plain speaking, leave the complex and complicated constructions for other things.

    Good post. I am going to print it and put it on my fridge. In a family as big as mine, this is something we all need to learn. Plenty of opportunity to practice apologies with all the whacking and smacking of toys and words in a family this size. Reading the comments is just as enlightening about our responses to people as well as our responses to ourselves. Htom, how is that in any way complicated?

    And furthermore, it ties cause and effect together, admitting guilt, in a way that your rephrasing seems designed to avoid. Your avoidance of the passive has actually had the opposite effect of the one you desire. Which has to be some sort of irony. By the way, if a tornado picks up my house and drops it on your sister, do not expect an apology from me. Unless some kind of neglect on my part made it not stormworthy by some objective standard, I have nothing to apologize for.

    You may expect condolences, expressions of sympathy and even guilt, many other things—but not an apology. You should thank my sister for cushioning the blow and reducing the damage to your house. I disagree that an apology is the place for passive voice. Poor use of passive voice. And…Xopher says in two brief paragraphs what took me two long posts to explain.

    And I find it awkwardly phrased; the end is almost dangling. The verb is out there in the middle of nowhere. It gets even worse if the list of my crimes is longer. Furthermore, using the passive allows you to move the crimes to the end, which is the strongest place in the sentence. It may depend on what you want to emphasize. If you want a true mea culpa , I think the passive is more effective. If you just want to express sympathy and gloss over your guilt, the active voice works better. In fact , one of the real strengths of the passive is in an accusation, as with Prof.

    The patient was murdered by his own doctor!. The passive has a bad rep because people think of it as the way bureaucrats cast a Kafkaesque veil of obfuscation over who was actually responsible for something or other, probably heinous, in a world in which process reigns supreme and its agents skulk furtively behind the arras. They just want you to go away.

    When you find yourself apologizing too many times to the same people it might be time to assess the possibility of this. Congratulations for entirely ignoring the point. Passive voice can be useful. But to jump into a discussion about apologies, to ignore all the ways that wrong-doers abuse passive voice to give non-apologies, and to try and make it some argument about the rules of grammar say passive voice is legal is entirely ignoring the point. But the post is making me reconsider whether I actually feel sorry about what I did.

    First, the expression of offense is not entirely fair, which makes an unqualified apology a little bit difficult… but it is mostly fair, i. And this is a friendship that used to be very close, and one I thought was still really valuable. Especially since the friend in question is going through at least two separate traumas, either of which on its own would probably destroy me emotionally for months if not years.