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Is it ok to say 'sorry' where you otherwise would use 'excuse me'?

Example: "Sorry, but could you show me the way to the next train station?"

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    I think, based on your example sentence, it is "Sorry (to disturb you), but could you show me the way to the next train station?" In this case ('disturbing' the person), using 'sorry' is okay. – shin Nov 29 '15 at 12:19
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    This is probably opinion based, but in a literal sense I would stick to "excuse me" with strangers. You didn't do anything to be sorry for, you are just interrupting someone. (AmE, this might vary based on locale.) – user3169 Nov 29 '15 at 18:38
  • So 'sorry' is more apologetic than 'excuse me'? – Kai Hartmann Nov 30 '15 at 9:00
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'Excuse me' or 'pardon me' would be common. One would normally say 'sorry' only after the fact, if one could tell they were interrupting or inconveniencing the person in question. If you use the entire phrase -- "sorry to bother you" -- then yes, but that would still be less common than the simpler "excuse me." Also, see 'the difference between excuse me and sorry'

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    Sorry is understandable as a replacement in my dialect of AmE. As mentioned by @shin, I would understand it as "sorry to disturb you". Maybe you mean to say it's uncommon in your dialect? Or there's some other reason to prefer "excuse me"? – ColleenV Nov 30 '15 at 18:12
  • US English - one would only say 'sorry' after the fact, if one could tell they were interrupting or inconveniencing the person in question. If you use the entire phrase -- "sorry to bother you" -- then yes, but that would still be less common than the simpler "excuse me." Also, see english.stackexchange.com/questions/48083/… – donblanco Nov 30 '15 at 21:59
  • I think the elaboration from your comment would make your answer more helpful. "It doesn't work" might lead learners to think it's completely wrong, which it's not. Comments on SE sites are temporary, so it's a good idea to get them into an answer or question if the discussion is helpful. Editing will also allow me to retract my down vote. – ColleenV Nov 30 '15 at 22:07
  • Colleen - edited per your suggestion. – donblanco Dec 1 '15 at 14:40
  • +1 for finding a relevant discussion on EL&U by the way. I think it's helpful to see something explained in different ways. – ColleenV Dec 1 '15 at 22:17
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Yes it's fine to say sorry instead of excuse me, it's not as common.

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    I hope you elaborate more - "it's not as common" (How? Why? What are the instances?) Just a tip. :) – shin Nov 29 '15 at 12:29
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    Oops. Forgot this line - WELCOME to ELL! – shin Nov 29 '15 at 12:41
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Personally, I would use the complete phrase "Sorry to disturb you, but..." or "Excuse me, but ..."

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