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The following is a conversation from an English textbook (Summit 2A by Joan Saslow and Allen Ascher; Pearson Education, 2012) in which a person expresses regret about breaking his friend's camera.

Tim, I hate to tell you this but I dropped the camera you lent me, and it can't be fixed.

Oh, no. How did that happen?

Well, I tripped, and it fell out of my bag. I feel awful about it.

Are you sure it can't be fixed?

Pretty sure. I took it to the camera shop, and they said to forget it. But I can replace it with a newer model.

Then the book suggests other ways to express regret as the following: I'm so sorry; I feel awful (about it); I feel (just) terrible (about it).

The problem is it says I'm so sorry does not conclude with about it. Really? I'm pretty sure I've heard sorry about something or someone. What am getting wrong here?! Is it something about so before sorry?

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I'm so sorry about it [the entire phrase] is not typically used to express regret about a particular thing that one has done accidentally, like dropping a camera or breaking a window with a baseball. Normally it is used to express regret about an extended incident in which one was involved and took part, such as an argument or a painful misunderstanding, and its aftermath.

I'm so sorry about it (all).

I'm so sorry about the whole thing.

  • Wow I couldn't possibly pull that in a billion years! Thank you very much. Now the whole thing makes sense. – Yuri Feb 19 '18 at 18:21
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    It's also common to say (I'm) (so) sorry about that. Where that can refer to a wide range of things. In speech that is not formal, the about is often shortened to 'bout. That might explain why you think you've heard sorry about (something). – Jim Reynolds Feb 20 '18 at 17:50

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