What talking I laughed a bit and then accidentally sneezed and spat. Then I realised that the other person was brushing his jacket.

I realised all this after the conversation was over. Then I said,

I am sorry, I sneezed and it fell on you.

"My bad" will not be understood by most people where I live. He might also ask why are you saying that, then I have to reply something in proper English sentence.

What is the better and proper way to apologise for such situations?

  • This is a situation where HOW you say something means far more than what you say, re: Empathy.
    – lurker
    Dec 22, 2015 at 1:28
  • The most common way is to say sorry! my bad!
    – Schwale
    Dec 22, 2015 at 1:31
  • 1
    There's just no excuse for sneezing on someone.
    – Ricky
    Dec 22, 2015 at 2:06
  • 1
    I think "excuse me".
    – Khan
    Dec 22, 2015 at 2:28
  • 1
    I think just an apology or "excuse me" is fine. It would be better not to replay the situation. Depending on the formality, even some phrase like "I'm sorry, that was really gross." is enough.
    – user3169
    Dec 22, 2015 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


The phrases you'd use to apologize with are those that express regret. Any of the following terms are probably acceptable:

  1. I apologize. (or I'd like to apologize for...)
  2. Pardon me.
  3. Please excuse me.
  4. Please forgive me.
  5. Oops/Whoops!
  6. I'm sorry.

Note: I'd personally recommend avoiding sorry, because the second meaning of the word has a negative connotation and may not be accepted as an apology.

  1. My bad!

Note: This is obviously informal. It will work in some parts of the world or with certain people, but should probably be avoided unless you hear them use it first.

When apologizing, you should generally use two parts. The first part expresses regret, most likely using one of the prior phrases, and for the second part, explain what regret you have. You might use one of these phrases:

I didn't mean to spit on you.
I didn't mean to get spittle/snot/whatever all over you.
I didn't mean to spray you.

Honestly, apologizing is more about the sincerity in your voice than the exact words used. As long as you mean what you say, you'll probably be okay. It's also perfectly acceptable to state the perceived offense first, and then express regret afterwards. This format generally has the benefit of less confusion, since you're stating what you felt you did wrong, followed by an appeal for forgiveness/dismissal of the offense.

So, in conclusion, your apology might sound something like:

a) I'd like to apologize for getting spit on you.
b) I didn't mean to spit on you. I apologize.
c) I apologize. I didn't mean to get spit on you.
d) Oops! I didn't mean to spit on you!
e) I didn't meant to get spittle all over you. Please forgive me.

  • My problem is that I had to apologise after the conversation was over because at that time only I could realise what I had done. Dec 22, 2015 at 4:48
  • It is probably okay. We all do things that offend other people from time to time. The important thing is to apologise once you realise you've done wrong. Most people would rather get an apology later than not at all. Sooner may be better, but later is still better than never.
    – phyrfox
    Dec 22, 2015 at 5:32

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