9 Easy Ways to Say Excuse Me in Spanish – Different Use Cases in an All-in-one Table

Imagine you’re walking the bustling streets of Barcelona, your senses alive with the sounds and sights of the Spanish culture. As you move through the crowded Plaça de Catalunya, you find yourself needing to get past a group blocking your path to a breakfast stand. “Excuse me,” you think, but wait—how do you say that in Spanish? For those interested in learning more about apologizing in Spanish and understanding when to use different expressions, Spring Spanish—a project I co-founded—has created a helpful video:

Well, knowing the right way to express excuse me in Spanish can make all the difference in these social situations: whether you’re trying to catch someone’s attention, apologize, or simply make your way through a crowd.

Thankfully, Spanish offers different expressions for these moments. Let’s explore 9 easy ways to say excuse me in Spanish. Check this all-in-one table where every excuse me is suited to different occasions: click any of these to get an in-depth explanation!

SpanishEnglishUse Case
PerdónExcuse me / SorryUniversal use for interruptions, apologies, or attention.
Disculpa / DisculpeExcuse meTo get attention, apologize, or interrupt, informally/formally.
Con permisoExcuse me / With permissionWhen needing to pass by or interrupt.
Lo sientoI’m sorryApologizing for a mistake or mishap.
Mil disculpasA thousand apologiesEmphatic apology for an inconvenience caused.
Perdón por interrumpirSorry for interruptingWhen breaking into a conversation.
Disculpa la molestiaSorry for the botherAcknowledging a potential inconvenience.
¿Puedo pasar?May I pass?Asking someone to move to get by.
Perdón por el retrasoSorry for the delayApologizing for being late.

1. Perdón (Excuse me/Sorry) – How to say excuse me in Spanish

Effortless Answers

Perdón is the universal use for interruptions, apologies, or attention.

Perdón is the Swiss Army Knife of Spanish apologies. It fits seamlessly into almost any scenario where you need to excuse yourself or grab someone’s attention. It’s short, polite, and understood everywhere that Spanish is spoken.

Let’s see an example:

  • Alejandro: Perdón, ¿puedes decirme la hora? (Excuse me, could you tell me the time?)
  • Sofía: Claro, son las tres. (Sure, it’s three o’clock.)

2. Disculpa (Excuse me)

Use case: To get attention, apologize, or interrupt, informally/formally.

Disculpa (informal) and disculpe (formal) serve as polite ways to requests or questions, making sure you’re not coming across as too abrupt.

For example:

  • Manuel: Disculpa, ¿sabes dónde está el museo? (Excuse me, do you know where the museum is?)
  • Diego: Sí, sigue derecho y luego gira a la izquierda. (Yes, go straight and then turn left.)

3. Con permiso (With permission)

Use case: When needing to pass by or interrupt.

The literal translation of con permiso is “with permission.” It’s a polite way of saying “excuse me” when you need to get through a crowd or when you’re leaving a table.

Let’s put this into a practical use:

  • Isabel: Con permiso, necesito pasar. (Excuse me, I need to get through.)
  • Gabriela: Oh, claro, adelante. (Oh, sure, go ahead.)

4. Lo siento (I’m sorry)

Use case: Apologizing for a mistake or mishap.

More than a simple “excuse me,” lo siento carries the weight of an apology for actions taken. It”s perfect for when you’ve accidentally bumped into someone or made a mistake.

A real-life example would look like this:

  • Carlos: ¡Ay, lo siento mucho! (Oh, I’m so sorry!)
  • Lucia: No te preocupes, está bien. (Don’t worry, it’s okay.)

5. Mil disculpas (A thousand apologies)

Use case: An emphatic apology for an inconvenience caused.

Use this chunk is when you want to emphasize how sorry you are, perhaps after a significant mistake or oversight, “mil disculpas” can show the true depth of your regret.

Let’s see how this works in reality:

  • Fernando: Mil disculpas por llegar tarde. (A thousand apologies for being late.)
  • Marta: Está bien, pero intenta ser puntual la próxima vez. (It’s okay, but try to be on time next time.)

You may wonder what I mean by ‘chunks.’ What are they? Well, they are natural parts of language, not just in Spanish but in any language. Sign up now and receive our Conversation Based Chunking Pack and you’ll get tons of amazing content to help you learn Spanish.

6. Perdón por interrumpir (Sorry for interrupting)

Use case: When breaking into a conversation.

This phrase is your go-to when you need to interject politely in a discussion or meeting.

To illustrate this better, let’s check one more example:

  • Javier: Perdón por interrumpir, pero tengo una pregunta. (Sorry for interrupting, but I have a question.)
  • Elena: No hay problema, ¿qué necesitas? (No problem, what do you need?)

7. Disculpa la molestia (Sorry for the bother)

Use case: Acknowledging a potential inconvenience.

A considerate way to preface a request that might bother the other person. It’s showing that you’re mindful of their comfort and time.

In a real conversation, this would be:

  • Roberto: Disculpa la molestia, ¿me podrías ayudar con esto? (Sorry for the bother, could you help me with this?)
  • Valeria: Claro que sí, ¿qué necesitas? (Of course, what do you need?)

8. ¿Puedo pasar? (May I pass?)

Use case: Asking someone to move to get by.

Direct and to the point! This question is ideal for crowded places (of which there are numerous in Spanish-speaking countries if you’re visiting as a tourist!) where you need to move through without much fuss.

An example:

  • Miguel: ¿Puedo pasar, por favor? (May I pass, please?)
  • Carmen: ¡Oh, disculpa! Claro que sí. (Oh, sorry! Of course.)

9. Perdón por el retraso (Sorry for the delay)

Use case: Apologizing for being late.

When arriving late to an appointment or meeting, this phrase helps soften the first impression and shows you’re aware of the little problems you caused.

How to use this chunk in a dialogue:

  • Luis: Perdón por el retraso, había mucho tráfico. (Sorry for the delay, there was a lot of traffic.)
  • Ana: No te preocupes, empecemos. (Don’t worry, let’s get started.)

Practice saying excuse me in Spanish with exercises

Fill in the blanks with the correct Spanish apology or request from the list provided:

Disculpa, con permiso, perdón, lo siento, perdón por el retraso, puedo pasar?, mil disculpas

We have more exercise available for you in our Full Practice Worksheet Library: click the button to get access!

Learn different ways to say excuse me in Spanish language with Conversation Based Chunking

After going through these life-saving lexical chunks, there’s only one thing to emphasize: Conversation Based Chunking is a method that helps you learn practical Spanish without getting bogged down in grammar and vocabulary lists. If you’re focusing on chunks of language, you learn how and when to use these common blocks of the language like excuse me in Spanish – just as native speakers do.

The real secret to speaking Spanish confidently is practice. With these chunks in your toolkit, you’re well on your way to speaking more smoothly and politely in any Spanish-speaking country. You can look for our italki review to get a tutor

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