Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have to apologize for a procedural error at work, and am unsure about selecting the right form of apology from the variants of 「ご迷惑をおかけ・・・」:

1.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけして申【もう】し訳【わけ】ございません。」

2.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけして申【もう】し訳【わけ】ありません。」

3.「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけしてすみません。」

Also, whether or not to append 「でした」to the end.

The thing I am apologizing for is a mistake in a business purchase. I charged a purchase to my corporate card, but should have had the vendor bill monthly using the 分割払【ぶんかつばら】い option. So a brief explanation, concluding with this apology, will be written in the comment section of my expense report. The reason for apologizing is not to really say I am sorry, but just to let everybody in the approval chain for my expense report know that I now know I did it wrong, and won't do it like this in the future.

I chose to write it as follows:

「ご迷惑【めいわく】をおかけしてすみませんでした。」

Reasons:

Firstly, this is an internal company communication, and the people to whom I will submit this document are of a lesser coporate rank than myself (although they are not my subordinates, since the work for the Finance Department). So I felt like 「申し訳ございません」was too much.

(Also, I confess, because I don't yet really understand the full nuance of super-polite self-humbling apology in Japanese, so I tend to never use verbs like 「ございます」or 「いたします」. )

Does that reasoning make sense?

Secondly, as for the 「でした」 at the end, I put it in the past tense because the procedural error I made happened last month. The way I think of it, I'm saying, "Sorry for the error I made last month," so I put it in past tense.

But I wasn't confident about this, because the actual bother I am causing them is actually happening at the time I submit my expense report. So in a different sense I am saying, "Sorry for the bother I am causing you right now by submitting this unexpectedly high expense report, due to the error I made last month". Thought about that way, I wondered if the apology should be in the present tense.

Which is correct? Or might either one work?

(And speaking of apologies: sorry for the two-part question; I couldn't cleanly separate these two concerns.)

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm no keigo expert, but it seems to me that choice #1 is a bit too formal/humble for an internal memo or comment to someone that's not in a higher position than you. Choices #2 and #3 seem a bit better, but the humble form お + verb + する for かける seems a bit too humble to me in this case. I would change #2 to 「ご迷惑をかけて申し訳ありません」 and #3 to 「ご迷惑をかけてすみません」.

In my case I would probably use #2. #3 seems a bit too familiar to use on someone in a work environment where you don't necessarily know exactly who they are and you haven't interacted personally with them before. Also, changing it to the past tense should be fine, since you've already made the mistake, you are just reporting/explaining it on your expense report.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.