Apology for late response
Business Writing Tips

How to apologize for late response

In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips about how to apologize for late response. Working with clients is not an easy job and you should be attention whatever you say to them. Sometimes, it happens that they are becoming very frustrated because they don’t receive the expected response asap. But sometimes, they understand that you can be so quick because there are other people that are involved in the solution.
Don’t panic, just say in the magic word ”Sorry” in the proper way and situation.

Should I use apologize or apologies?

Apologize is used in American English.

Apologise /Apologies is used in British English.

However, they mean the same thing but there’s a little difference.


1. I apologize for the late response. (Apologize is used as a verb)
2. My apologies for the late response. (Apologies is used as a verb)
3. You can accept my apology for the late response. (Apology is used as a noun)

All of them are acceptable and you can either use them in a formal or informal e-mail.

How you should NOT apologize for late response?


– Sorry for the delay in responding, I forgot to answer you.
– I am really really sorry for the late response.
– Apologies, I saw your message but I didn’t have time to answer you.
– Apologies for the delayed response. It’s not going to happen again.

Sorry or Apologize?

Sorry- an informal way to express your feelings. However, if you have become closer with the client (had several conversations, talked many times on the phone), you can always say ”Sorry”.

Apologize – a formal way to express your feelings.

Response or Reply?

The meaning is the same. Both are synonyms.
The only difference is that ”Response” is more formal than ”Reply”.

Why sometimes you should AVOID apologies?

You should not exaggerate the use of the word ‘Apology’ because the person on the other side will feel superior to you and can sometimes feel more powerful. Everything has its measure!
For example, you send a message that you apologize for the late response and after a couple of hours, you send the same message. You should avoid it!

Sorry for late response

How to answer when the customer apologize to you?

You should not answer anything. You can continue to talk about your topic and disregard the late response.

What timeframe is fine to say sorry?

Depends on the reason why you have delayed with the answer:

If you have been collecting information and the customer is aware of that:
– It’s okay to answer 1-2 days later but if you answer after one week you can add the magic word – Apology;

Nothing special, just some simple question:
If you answer after 4-5 hours after their question:
– It’s okay to avoid the word – Apology;

If you answer after 1-2 days after their query:
– You should say – Apology;

Reasons why you have delayed your response:

Apologize, I was gathering information internally;
Apologize, I was pending our responsive team;
Apologize, I was out of the office;
Apologize, I had to accidentally leave the office earlier;
Apologize, I was on a meeting/event;
Apologize, I’m just back at the office after a week’s flu;
Apologize, I was on sick leave;
Apologize, I was pending my line manager;
Apologize, I had issued with my Outlook;

Sometimes you are able to avoid the word ”Apology” as simply provide regular updates that you are working on their request.
You can find our examples to apologize for the late response here:

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