1. I'm very sorry that I can't join you.
  2. I'm so sorry that I can't join you.

Which one is grammatical and correct? Thanks in advance.

  • Both are fine for me. – Nihilist_Frost Jan 8 '16 at 4:33
  • Both are OK. I would say 1. is more formal. 2. adds a bit of emotional involvement. – user3169 Jan 8 '16 at 4:43
  • "That" looks like an expletive here. – lurker Jan 8 '16 at 6:53
  • Can the word "very" be used before the "that-clauses"? Thanks again. – yethu Jan 8 '16 at 7:39

I don't think either is incorrect, or that the "that-clause" has any special rule for using "so" vs. "that".

I'd say "so sorry" sounds emphatic/emotional. "very sorry" sounds more plain and formal, but maybe more sincere.

Althought the "so" version can be more emotional, in certain contexts it can add a tone of sarcasm, especially if you're appologizing for something minor. I'd avoid this expression unless you think you can convey your tone unambiguously.

I think the most idiomatic expression in American English is "really sorry", but that is casual.

In a more formal situation I'd use no adverb at all, and in very formal situations use "apologize".

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