I m not really sure about using participles in this specific usage.

I am sorry for leaving earlier.

I am sorry for having left earlier.

I used the first option when writing an email to my teacher describing I was not able to come to the meeting she arranged.But I have been doubting the second sentence too, cause I know it is also an option, so which one is better for this specific occassion.

2 Answers 2


Both are fine. In general you should avoid using the perfect tense unless it's necessary to establish a temporal relationship between one event and another event.

I'm sorry for leaving earlier (I left)

I'm sorry for having left earlier (I left before something else happened)

Without additional context, I can't say which is correct. Example:

I'm sorry for having driven away before you had the chance to say goodbye.

It's still fine to use the simple form here, and it sounds better, but if you want to use the perfect at least there is some justification.

  • so I should avoid using "I m sorry for having left"phrase without any other completing? Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 18:00
  • The reason doesn't have to be in the same sentence, but there should be some reason in context. Example: "I know, it was your big speech. I'm sorry for having left early." The listener knows from context that you mean "before you started your big speech"
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 18:25
  • As ever, simplest is best. I don't fully understand OP's context (what did he leave, and when? How does that relate to failing to attend a meeting?). But in most contexts if leaving early was specifically what you were apologising for, I'd have thought I'm sorry I left early would be far more likely than anything else (but I'm sorry I missed our meeting sounds more natural for the context here). Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 18:54
  • Yes, please see StoneyB's canonical post on the subject. Most of the time there is no need to use the perfect.
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 21:40

The first one is ok, in my opinion. The second sentence would be better like this:

I am sorry I've left earlier

  • 2
    "I am sorry I've left earlier" is not correct English.
    – Andrew
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 18:26

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