When a teacher wrote this in an email to me:

"Sorry for the late reply!"

I want to tell her that I do not mind it even though it is the email that I have been eagerly waiting for a few days.

  1. I understand it. Thank you. And stop.
  2. You are welcome. Not, I don't mind!
  3. Your suggestions

I used 2 for friends, but I am not sure if 1 is appropriate for someone with a higher social status, such principal, professors.

  • 4
    It is no problem at all or I don't mind at all would be generally suitable, but I would advise you that unlike a great many languages, English has no "respectful form" per se; what is polite depends mainly on the particular relationship. Even at my fancypants name-brand alma mater, there were one or two professors who wanted undergraduates to address them by their first name), indicating more casual communication would be acceptable despite the social distance. By the same token, sometimes someone just a couple years older but in a position of power might expect obsequiousness. – choster Jan 27 '15 at 15:19
  • "What makes you think you can get away with an apology just because you are a teacher, when your late reply cost me ... " Seriously, what does "higher social status" have to do with it? What matters is whether the apology is gracefully or grudgingly accepted, or not. – gnasher729 May 6 '16 at 15:34

Another option -- depending on if you will be replying in email, in detail -- is to thank her happily for the information in the email, respond to that as appropriate, and just not mention anything about the apology one way or the other. In a face-to-face conversation, you could say, "It's all right" to an apology or some other small-talk, but making a point to address the "sorry I'm late" in an email would generally need to be done with humor or other truthful understanding about busy lives. E.g., after an ice storm, I was able to write things like, "No worries; turned out I lost Internet for three days anyway!"

(But if you do acknowledge the apology instead of just letting it pass off and indicating your no-hard-feelings by how you react in the rest of the message, another possible reply would be, "I understand; life gets busy. Thanks for getting this to me!")

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English (at least in many dialects) has less well-defined variations in speech for social status differences.

For a case like this, something like "It's not a problem" or "It's not a big deal" is usually fine. If you want to sound a bit more formal, you might something say "Thanks for the apology, but it's not necessary."

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  • How does "I apprechiate your concern, but it is no problem" sound to you? – Avigrail Jan 27 '15 at 21:54
  • "I appreciate" doesn't sound off, but "your concern" does. I wouldn't "I'm sorry" is a "concern" expression – eques Jan 27 '15 at 22:21

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