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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Anja here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common German questions.
The question for this lesson is: What is the difference between Entschuldigung, Entschuldigen Sie, and Entschuldige?
Let’s start from the beginning. The verb entschuldigen can be literally translated as "to take away the guilt," with die Schuld meaning "the guilt." This means you're asking the other person to free you from feeling guilty for whatever you're apologizing for.
Both Entschuldigung and Entschuldigen Sie which are formal and Entschuldige, which is informal, are used to apologize to someone. Entschuldigen Sie and Entschuldige are the imperative of entschuldigen, which means “to excuse” and Entschuldigung means “apology.”
While both expressions can often be used interchangeably, a conversation between a parent and their child might go like this-- Entschuldige dich! “Apologize!” to which the child will reply Entschuldigung. meaning “Apology!” or more naturally in English, “Sorry!”
Entschuldigung can often stand on its own as an apology, but Entschuldigen Sie or Entschuldige often need another sentence to explain what you're apologizing for, such as Entschuldigen Sie, dass ich zu spät war. Which means, “Excuse me being late.” or Entschuldigen Sie die Störung. meaning "Excuse the disruption."
Entschuldigen Sie is formal, so this would be used at work, for example when a colleague disrupts a meeting or, very politely, simply before asking a colleague a question.
Another common phrase is Entschuldigung, das wollte ich nicht, meaning, "Apologies, I didn't want that (to happen)." This can be used in many situations, and the das wollte ich nicht implies that whatever you did was an accident. This phrase can be used for anything from apologizing for dropping a plate at home, to apologizing to your boss for breaking your computer at work. It's usually used when your mistake was noticed by another person and that person makes you aware of what you did.
Another example is Er ist entschuldigt, which directly translates as, "he's excused." This is commonly used at school, when parents write a note for their children when they are sick. Their absence is then called an entschuldigt.
In casual situations, for example if a friend is a few minutes late, many people would just shorten this phrase by saying, Tschuldigung! For example, Tschuldigung, ich stand im Stau which means, "Sorry, I was caught in traffic." Increasingly, people also say just "sorry" in very casual or friendly situations.
If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments below, and I'll try to answer them!
Tschüss, bis zum nächsten Mal! “Bye, see you next time!”


Please to leave a comment.
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Sorry, please keep your comment under 800 characters. Got a complicated question? Try asking your teacher using My Teacher Messenger.

Friday at 6:30 pm
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What German learning question do you have?

Thursday at 8:56 am
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Hi Lavictoire,

You are in luck, it seems.😉

Our team has picked up on your comment and is

currently evaluating your question.

I cannot give you any details as to when they will come

up with a lesson though.

Meanwhile, my colleague was nice enough to point out another

lesson on GermanPod101.com, that might help you for now:


It is not specifically about "sich" but you will find some samples of how it can be used.

Thank you again.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


Team GermanPod101.com

Friday at 1:31 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Lavictoire,

Thank you for your comment.

I will forward your request to our team. They probably know

of a lesson that already exists and will answer all your questions.

If not, you might have really given them a theme for a new video? I can't

make any promises though.😉

In the meantime, have a look at this lesson:


Maybe this will help.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


Team GermanPod101.com

Thursday at 2:14 am
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May I request a video about the meaning and use of "sich" ? Thank you.

Friday at 7:00 am
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Hi Joe,

Well observed.👍

Although I wouldn't say it's customary - it depends a bit

on the individual - but you get that a lot.

Thank you.

If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Kind regards,


Team GermanPod101.com

Joe B.
Saturday at 2:29 pm
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Hi, Anja!

Thanks for your very helpful explanations.

In everyday, informal conversation, is it customary to NOT use inverted word order in dependent clauses, while omitting the word " dass ? "

Vielen Dank!

♥ Joe B. 🗽