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From my understanding, "no worries" is one way to reply a polite apology. For example, it's something I can say when someone tells me that he or she would be late because of something unexpected. However, I just learned that people don't say it in the States so I wonder what's an alternative way to answer such an apology?

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It is a mistake to say that people in the USA don't say "no worries", but it is typically thought of as an Australian English idiom. I'm a native British English speaker, and the same applies here - some people do say it, but it is thought of as being of Australian origin.

"No problem", and derivations of it, are probably the most common equivalent in US and British English. It is worth noting that a pseudo-Spanish derivation "no problemo" is so commonly said by English speakers that it has found its way into dictionaries.

I would go as far as to say that "no worries" also captures a relaxed attitude often associated with Australians (which may well be a generalisation, but not a negative one). The use of this phrase also conveys that kind of attitude, in much the same way as is intended when English speakers borrow similarly relaxed phrases like "mañana", "c'est la vie", or "que sera sera" from other languages.

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  • a pseudo-Spanish derivation "no problemo" - this could lead me to murder. Sep 6, 2021 at 12:05
  • @MichaelHarvey that definition is straight from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_problem#No_problemo
    – Astralbee
    Sep 6, 2021 at 12:11
  • I just hate those jokey sayings. I once heard someone say 'no problemito'. Sep 6, 2021 at 12:15
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    @MichaelHarvey C'est normale.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 6, 2021 at 12:26
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    I think "no worries" is becoming more popular both in the USA and the UK.
    – nschneid
    Sep 6, 2021 at 16:42

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