Let's suppose you say a university professor or an elder person who you think a great deal of them, something not pleasant. Suddenly you see that they get upset. Then which one of the following sentences would be a a polite sentence of apology to tell them:

  • I didn't mean to take the liberty.
  • I didn't mean to act rudely.

I think the first sentence works better than the latter one and the second one sounds a bit too formal in colloquial, polite language. If no one of my sentences work, I would really appreciate it if you do me a favor and let me know what do natives say rather than my sentences?

Thank you in advance. :)

  • I dare say there are native speakers who would go with something along the lines of "don't sweat it, bro. No offence, ya know, all cool!". I wouldn't normally recommend to go with that line though. – oerkelens Apr 17 '14 at 8:43

Actually, the first one sounds insincere to me.

Taking the liberty to do or say something is a deliberate, conscious act. Saying you didn't mean to perform a conscious act sounds strange.

It sound like "I did not mean to decide this" or "I did not mean to select the blue car".

The second one sounds better, you can say that you acted rudely unintentionally. But is does sound a bit stiff.

I would probably go for a simple:

I didn't mean to be rude.

  • Thank you very much. But I take the libert of saying is it a native voice @oerkelens? :) – A-friend Apr 17 '14 at 8:09
  • 1
    If you want to believe that it matters, I can tell you that I am not a native speaker. :) – oerkelens Apr 17 '14 at 8:27
  • Of course it doesn't dear Oerkelens. Let's see whether natives have something to add to your statements or not. Thank you very much for the help. :) – A-friend Apr 17 '14 at 8:41

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