Tag Archives: apologizing

Miss Universe Contest’s Flub: Learning How to Apologize

You might be wondering what a “flub” is. A flub is an embarrassing mistake or blunder and this is precisely the best word to describe what happened at this year’s Miss Universe pageant where Miss Colombia was by mistakenly crowned Miss Universe by host Steve Harvey.

Yes, I agree. Everybody makes mistakes, to err is human and stuff like that, but  -hey Steve!- this one was just huge, enormous. It was a Himalayan blunder. Perhaps it was a Freudian slip and you wanted to crown Miss Colombia and thought nobody would notice!

Anyway, I feel bad for both misses, don’t you?

At the Golden Globes this year, the actor Jamie Foxx parodied this situation and this gives me the chance to have a look at the ways we can apologize in English. See? Every cloud has a silver lining!

Level: Intermediate

Age group: any


Step 1.Watch the video and write down all the expressions Jamie Foxx uses to apologize. Check them at the end of this post.


Step 2. Speaking.Get students in groups of three or four and ask them to discuss the following questions

♥ What’s the worst mistake you’ve made at work/school and how did you deal with it?

♥ What is the biggest mistake you have ever made and what did you learn from it?

♥ Is it easy for you to admit that you have made a mistake or do you tend to blame         others or circumstances for your mistakes?

Step 3.Do you know when to use excuse me, pardon (me), beg your pardon and sorry?


  • You usually use sorry to apologize after you have done something wrong. It is the simplest way to apologize.
  • If you want to be more polite, you can always use the longer version “I’m sorry”.
  • If you want to emphasize how sorry you are, you can use “I’m so /terribly/very/extremely/really sorry”.
  • If you want to say what you’re sorry for, you can say:

                   I am sorry I shouted at you

                  I am sorry about last night

                 I am sorry for being late

  • When you accidentally step on someone’s toe , you say ” I’m sorry” or just “Sorry”
  • When you bump into someone on the street, you say “Sorry”
  • When we hear bad news  and we want to express our feelings, we say “ I am sorry to hear that.”
  • It is also used as a polite way of introducing disappointing information or bad news I’m sorry, but you have not passed the test
  • Used when you have said something that is not correct, and want to say something that is correct. For example: A synonym of large  is small – sorry big!
  • Used when you disagree with someon. For example: I’m sorry but I can’t agree with you here.


  • when you want to interrupt someone. For example: Excuse me, I have a question.
  • When you want to call someone’s attention. For example: Excuse me,can I have the bill?
  • When you are trying to leave a room and someone is in your way
  • When you want ot ask for permission to do something , you might start with Excuse me, can I open the window?
  • Excuse me can also be used, especially in American English, when you have not heard or understood what someone has said. For example:You’re late.’ ‘Excuse me?’ ‘I said you’re late.’ ‘Oh, sorry.’


  • Speakers of British English usually use pardon when they have not heard or understood what soemone has said. For example: ‘My name is Timothy.’ ‘Pardon?
  • In American English, it is also possible to use pardon me in these situations.
  • In British English, you usually say pardon me when you have done something slightly impolite such as burping or sneezing. In American English, you usually say excuse me.


  • This expression  is rather old-fashioned. It is used to apologize for doing something embarrassing or for making a mistake in what you have said

                          A synonym for big is small – beg your pardon- it’s large.

Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/

Answers to Step 1 (video): I’m sorry folks, I’ve made a mistake, horrible mistake, I take full responsility, I apologize.

Thanks for reading! 🙂