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Summary of Strategies

Let’s review all the apologizing strategies we have seen in the exercises.

  • The strategies in red are core apologizing strategies, without which your utterance wouldn’t be recognized as an apology

  • The strategies appearing in blue are particularly important supporting strategies that can enhance or expand upon your apology.

  • You will see in black additional strategies that can also help you perform apologies, but they are not essential.

  • The strategies in green are general strategies that can be applied not only to apologies but also to other speech acts.


Making the apology statement

Making the apologizing statement (all exercises)

Using appropriate apologizing expressions according to the interlocutor and the situation (Ex. 1, 2, 9, 10, all others)


Abiding by the cultural norms for apologizing

Using an appropriate number of apology expressions (Ex. 1, 2, 9, 10)

Using the overlapping concepts and expressions of apology and thanks (Ex. 3)

Presenting an appropriate reason in an appropriate manner(Ex. 9, 10)


Using an appropriate level of politeness throughout the interaction (Ex. 2, 4, 5, 9)


Using an appropriate intensifier (Ex. 6, 9)


Using the past tense of certain apology expressions to conclude the interaction (Ex. 9)


Using strategies of apologizing

Making an apologizing statement (all exercise)

Providing a reason (Ex. 1, 7, 9.10)

Acknowledging responsibility (Ex. 7)

Offering a repair (Ex. 7, 9, 10)

Showing consideration for the hearer (Ex. 7, 10)

Using an expression of dismay (Ex. 7, extras)

Promising non-recurrence (Ex. 1, 7)

Communicating a lack of intention to cause the infraction (Ex. 9)


Using an appropriate tone of voice

Speaking hesitantly in formal apologies (Ex. 1, 8)

Leaving sentences incomplete (Ex. 8)

Using intensifiers and pronouncing them emphatically (Ex. 6, 8, 9)

Using appropriate eye-contact and bows in formal apologies (Ex. 8)

Learning Strategies for All Speech Acts


Finding an informant (a native or non-native expert of the culture) who can answer your questions regarding sociolinguistic or sociocultural norms in the target language/culture.


Listening to other speakers carefully to observe the cultural norms and language of their speech. Making your own hypotheses or hunches regarding appropriate use of the target language and being willing to renew them as necessary.


Finding resources that can inform you of the target language and culture.


Enochs & Yoshitake (1996), Enochs & Yoshitake-Strain (1999), Hayashi (1999), Ide (1998), Kumatoridani (1993), Kumatoridani (1999), Miyake(1994), Moriyama (1999), Nakai (1999),  Nakamura (1997), Nakata (1989), Nishimura (1998), Nonaka (2000), Nonoyama (1993), Okamoto & Tamon (2000), Sameshima (1998), Sumita (1992), Uehara (1993), Yanagiya (1992)

View the Annotated Bibliography of the Articles Used to Create the Exercises


View More Information about Apologies

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