This page is to help you choose between apology, apologise, apologises, apologetic and apologies.

On this page: Grammar Notes and an  Exercise.

Grammar Notes:


Part of Speech


apology singular noun Re: Apology for Late Delivery of Order #12345
apologies plural noun Please accept our apologies for the late delivery of this order.
apologise / apologize
(The British spelling uses 's', and the American, 'z'.)
verb "I apologise." "I forgive you."
I apologise for the late delivery of Order #12345.
I would like to apologise for the late delivery of Order #12345.
I am writing to apologise for the late delivery of Order #12345.
apologises / apologizes third person verb She never apologises to her boyfriend for being late.
apologised / apologized past tense verb The official apologised for his mistakes and offered his resignation.
have / has apologised / apologized present perfect verb He has apologised and has been forgiven.
am / is / are / was / were apologising / apologizing continuous verb He was apologising for forgetting his speech when he realised that he was in the wrong room.
apologising / apologizing gerund Apologising for things that are not your fault is a business skill.
apologetic adjective The complaining customer was very apologetic when he discovered that the battery was inserted the wrong way round.

'Apologies' is also a heading in the minutes of a meeting, and is the heading for the list of people who could not attend the meeting.

- apologise for a problem; e.g. "I would like to apologise for these problems."
- apologise to a person; e.g. You should apologise to customers if you make a mistake."
- an apology from / by a person or an organisation; e.g. "This is an apology from the member of staff involved."

If you get confused about the spelling at the ends of these words, you can use the American English spelling for the verbs; e.g. I apologize / He apologizes. This will help you to avoid confusing verbs with the plural noun apologies.

Read this situation, then do the following exercise.

You are an administrator for Exhibitions International, a company which organises business exhibitions and trade fairs around the world. You have received the following letter of complaint about your company's most recent exhibition.

Flat 303 Lucky Mansions
856 Cheung Sha Wan Road
Cheung Sha Wan

The Administrative Officer
Exhibition Services
Exhibitions International
33 Kadoorie Avenue

Dear Sir/Madam

I attended your exhibition Sound Systems at the Fortune Hotel from and found it informative and interesting. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the event was spoiled by a number of organisational problems. I explain each of the problems below.

Firstly, I had difficulty in registering to attend the event. You set up an on-line registration facility, but I found the facility totally unworkable. Even after spending several wasted hours trying to register in this way, the computer would not accept my application. I eventually succeeded in registering by faxing you.

Secondly, the Sound Systems exhibition was held at one of Hong Kong's most prestigious hotels, but frankly the venue was better suited to a medium-sized business conference than to a large exhibition open by registration to the public. The lack of space led to serious overcrowding in the venue, particularly at peak visiting times (i.e. lunch times and early evening). On one or two occasions I was also seriously concerned about the physical safety of attendees.

The final point I want to make concerns product information. It is very enjoyable to see and test a range of excellent sound systems, but it is also important to be able to take away leaflets on interesting products, so that more research can be done before deciding which system to buy. However, by the time I attended the exhibition all the leaflets had been taken.

Could I please ask you to look into these matters - not only on my behalf but also on behalf of other attendees, and in fact on behalf of your company, too.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Michael Leung

Michael Leung






Choose the correct option from the drop-down boxes, then click the 'Show Answers' button below:



Exhibitions International
33, Kadoorie Avenue, Kowloon
Phone: 9876 5432 E-mail:

Mr M Leung
Flat 303 Lucky Mansions
856 Cheung Sha Wan Road

Dear Mr Leung

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Yours sincerely

K K Wong

K K Wong
Administrative Officer

Encl. 2 VIP Tickets



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