Whether you made a mistake, stood your friend up, or stepped on someone’s foot on the bus, here are 7 ways of how to apologize in Ukrainian for any occasion.

Вибач [vybach] – I’m sorry / Excuse me (informal)

excuse me in Ukrainian
Вибач йому! – Forgive him!

Вибач is probably the most universal way to apologize in Ukrainian. It’s informal (ти form) and it means “Sorry” or “Excuse me”.

You can use it for apologizing (like “I’m sorry”) or for starting a question (like “excuse me”).

  • Вибач, а де в тебе туалет? – Excuse me, where is your toilet?

We often add “будь ласка” to make it more polite:

  • Вибач, будь ласка, я не хотіла тебе образити. –  I’m sorry, I didn’t want to offend you.

Вибач can also mean a strong apology for more serious things, like in the Скрябін song below.

The song starts with:

Вибач – Forgive me

Як зможеш колись – If you can one day

то вибач – then forgive me

Вибачте [vybachte] – I’m sorry / Excuse me (formal)

sorry in Ukrainian
Вибачте, ми зачинені – Sorry we are closed

If вибач is used with people you know, kids, or people younger than you, вибачте is its formal equivalent. It is used in the same way as вибач.

You can use this one for that stepping on a stranger’s foot situation:

  • Ой! Вибачте, будь ласка. – Oops! I’m so sorry.

Перепрошую [pereproshuju] – Excuse me…

excuse me in Ukrainian language
Перепрошую, у мене є питання – Excuse me, I have a question

Перепрошую is similar to Polish przepraszam, therefore, it is used more in Western Ukraine (Lviv, Ternopil, etc.) You can use it just like “вибачте” in formal situations, but usually in the sense of “excuse me”:

  • Перепрошую, котра година? – Excuse me, what time is it?

Прошу вибачення [proshu vybachennia] – I beg your pardon

forgive me in ukrainianПрошу вибачення literally means “I am asking for an apology” or “I beg your pardon” and it is used just like the latter, in rather formal situations:

  • Прошу вибачення, я не розчув, що ви сказали – I beg your pardon, I haven’t quite heard what you’ve said.

Пробач мені [probach meni] – Forgive me

please forgive me in UkrainianПробач / пробачте is a more serious version of вибач / вибачте. Usually, you are asking a person пробачити вам when you have done or said something really bad.

It can be quite dramatic, like in this song from Марія Бурмака:

Пробач, хай не помітні сльози – Forgive me, though my tears are not visible
Це було так не просто спалювати мости. – It wasn’t easy at all to burn the bridges.
Пробач, може я в тому винна, – Forgive me, maybe I am guilty in that.
Бути хотіла вільна, і ти мене відпустив. – I wanted to be free, and you’ve set me free.

Я не хотів [ja ne khotiv] /
Я не хотіла [ja ne khotila] – I didn’t mean to

i didn't mean to in UkrainianЯ не хотів (male) / Я не хотіла (female) literally means “I didn’t want to”. We usually don’t finish the sentence because we know from the context what it was that we “didn’t want to happen”, and what we didn’t mean to”:

  • Ой, вибач! Я не хотів (вдарити тебе) – Oops, sorry! I didn’t mean to (hit you).
  • Вибач, я не хотіла (образити тебе) – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to (offend you)

Мені дуже шкода [meni duzhe shkoda] – I feel bad / I’m so sorry

i feel bad about in UkrainianThe word шкода has various meanings from “harm” and “damage” to “it’s a pity”. You can say Мені (дуже) шкода if you feel bad about someone in general or about something you were involved with:

  • Мені дуже шкода, що так сталося – I feel so bad it happened that way.

You can use Мені (дуже) шкода to express not only an apology but also compassion:

  • Мені дуже шкода, будь ласка, прийми мої співчуття – I am so sorry, please accept my condolences.


So, are you ready to apologize in Ukrainian?

Even if you don’t need to do it now, you might want to use some of the expressions above in the future. Save and share them with your Ukrainian learning friends!

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