I am a non-native english speaker and I play an online multiplayer game where we send messages each other all the time. When I message someone and they take a long time to reply, it's not uncommon for me to receive "sorry my late" or "sorry my late to reply" at the beginning of their message. I got very used to this and started to say it myself, but now I wonder if this is grammatically correct.

When I stop to think about it, I guess that a correct phrase would be "I'm sorry for my late" or "[Please] Apologize my late", but "Sorry my late" seems just wrong...

So, is it technically wrong? Is it acceptable?

  • 2
    These are incorrect english usage, and unacceptable in most situations. However, the gamer community is well known for inventing their own idioms, with the most well known example being "pwned!". Therefore in this context, it seems appropriate to use that formulation: "sorry, my late." Just don't use it in other contexts.
    – brendan
    Jun 24, 2015 at 2:37
  • 1
    Formal grammar is often sacrificed to the necessity to communicate quickly. So Sorry my late makes sense and is as "grammatical" as Sorry my bad.
    – GoDucks
    Jan 27, 2016 at 0:35
  • I wonder if "Sorry my late" comes from the slang "Sorry my bad"
    – Ron Jensen
    Jan 27, 2016 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


All of those phrases are wrong, as it happens.

The correct phrase would normally be "[I am] sorry [that] I am late", but you could also say "[I am] sorry for my lateness". (The words in brackets are optional, but implied if you leave them out — that's just the way the sentences are constructed. And of course you can contract "I am" as "I'm" as usual.)

You can't be sorry (an adjective) for late (an adjective); you can be sorry for lateness (the noun form of that adjective), or for being late, or you can apologize for being late, or for lateness, or whatever. But if you did something a little wrong (being late), you're the one who would apologize for that, not the others. Instead, you could (if you wanted to be rather formal) say "[Please] forgive my lateness", or even "[Please] forgive my delay". But on an MMO that formality probably belongs in in-character/RP chat and nowhere else.

  • 1
    Nice, I never heard "lateness" before. Would "I am sorry for being late" and "Forgive my delay" also correct?
    – Pedro A
    Jun 24, 2015 at 1:50
  • 2
    @Hamsteriffic: Yes, both would work, although again, "forgive" in that usage is pretty formal. (And since "delay" to refer to a person's slowness is also rather formal, this is even more suited to in-character chat and even less suited to normal MMO conversation... or even normal conversation face to face.) Jun 24, 2015 at 1:52
  • 3
    I see, thank you very much! I would upvote if I had the reputation for it.
    – Pedro A
    Jun 24, 2015 at 2:00

Just say

Sorry I'm late


Sorry for the delay

(if you took a long time to get back after a break)

In more formal settings, you could refer to your "lateness" as "tardiness":

Please excuse my tardiness.

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