By the end of the lesson, EAL learners will have: 

  • noticed patterns of speech that are common for native speakers to use when they apologize.
  • practiced role playing and creating dialogues for apologies
  • discussed cultural similarities and differences for apologies in different workplace and community scenarios.


Workplace Scenario - Apologies

The audio for this lesson was recorded during role plays with staff and students at NorQuest College.

We asked these volunteers to role play the following scenario:

You work in a large company.
You meet many different people at various meetings on a regular basis.  
Yesterday, you saw someone who looked familiar, but you didn’t say anything.
Today, you go to a meeting and the same person sits in front of you.
You realize you actually met this person 6 months ago.
You feel awkward now.
What do you say to this person?


Apologies Audio for Lesson

The following audio accompanies the lesson plan and learner handout:

  • Part 2: Presentation

The Additional Apologies Audio section provides more examples of responses to the workplace scenario if you wish to use them in your class. 

Part 2:Presentation

Listening A


Hi. You look very familiar to me. I realize I’ve met you before and I’m really embarrassed but uh I didn’t remember that and I’m feeling really awkward right now (laughs). Um so I’m just apologizing for not recognizing you before and I might need to ask for your name again.

Listening B


Hey um I’m not sure if you remember me. I think we met a little while ago. Uh you have like a really familiar looking face to me and I wish I could piece it together I really do apologize. Can you let me know your name?

Listening C


Hi. I know we met before, but I’m sorry I can’t remember your name.

Listening D


Hi. Uh (laughs) I’m really sorry; I just realized that I have met you a few months ago, but I have completely forgotten your name. I always remember faces, but I’m not so great with names so my apologies.

Part 2:Presentation

Listening 1


Oh my goodness, I just realized that we were in a meeting together six months ago and my apologies but I forgot your name.

Listening 2


Oh hi there um, sorry I uh, realized shortly uh after seeing you the other day that we met a few months ago. I’m sorry I can’t remember your name.

Listening 3


Hi. I have to apologize I know I’ve met you before but your name has gone right out of my head.

Listening 4


A: Hi.
B: Hi.
A: You know I know I know you and I saw you yesterday and I’m sure we were at some previous meetings together before and I’m so sorry but I’ve forgotten your name.

Listening 5


A: Hi
B: Hi
A: I think you were sitting in front of me yesterday. I had the feeling you were sitting in front of me yesterday and I was…
B: Oh, ok. Yeah. Yeah
A: Yeah I was looking at you for a while and I thought…you know I didn’t say anything and I feel really stupid because I remembered that…you know…remember that sales meeting we were at for the…you know that new product that we’re bringing out that we’re designing and I thought, “Oh my goodness.” I felt so stupid when I got home and I thought, “I remember him. He did such a good job at that presentation,” so I’m really
B: Oh. Thank you
A: I’m so sorry that I’ve forgotten your name.
B: Oh no, no, no, no, no. Don’t be sorry.

Additional Apologies Audio:

Additional Listening 1


A: Hi. You know, I can’t remember, you know I’ve seen you somewhere. And I know I saw you again yesterday and now I recognize that’s two days in a row, but I know like it’s been about six months or so since we’ve seen and you know what, I apologize; I’m terrible with names, but uh, you know I just remember we had a great conversation that really made things stand out for me and I want to thank you for that when we were talking about, you know the leadership uh, uh, committee that we were on and all the things that we worked on but I’m sorry I can’t remember your name and I do apologize. I’d really like to reintroduce myself. I’m Bill Stenaroo and your name again please?
B: Jack
A: Jack, that's right.

Additional Listening 2


A: I feel so stupid. Yesterday, you and I were in a meeting together and I was thinking, “I know this guy from somewhere,” and we had met six months ago but I couldn’t place it and I’m so sorry that I hadn’t made that connection yesterday.
B: Oh, ok. No problem. Sorry, I’m Josh.

Additional Listening 3


A: Excuse me.
B: Hi.
A: Hi. I don’t mean to bother you but I’m wondering if we’ve met before.

Additional Listening 4


A: Hi. Nice day today, isn’t it?
B: Yeah.
A: Yeah, the weather is finally getting better.
B: Yeah.
A: You know. I believe I’ve met you somewhere before but I really, I’m sorry but I just can’t remember your name.

Additional Listening 5: No apology Response


A: Hi
B: Hi
A: You know, I thought your face looked familiar. Were you at the Economic Forum meeting in December last year?
B: Yes, I was.
A: Oh, that’s how I know you. You’re Bob, is that right?
B: Yes, I am.