Suppose at some point during a meeting or even a casual conversation your mind wandered off and you stopped listening. Then suddenly someone asks you a question. You want to let them know you've been thinking about something else for a moment and haven't been following, really.

I would say something like "sorry, I was/got lost in thought" but it seems too formal and even awkward.

What are the options (and is the one proposed above valid)?


Putting the question of politeness aside, there are a number of idiomatic ways to describe this kind of lapse of attention.

Sorry, ...

I was daydreaming.

My mind was wandering.

I was thinking about {something else}

I was going over in my mind ...

I must have drifted off there ... (sleepiness)

I missed what was said there. It just dawned on me that ... (e.g. I forgot to turn off the oven)

"I was lost in thought" is valid.

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