How to say “sorry for the late reply”


No matter how much you try khổng lồ organize your inbox, oversights happen—you’re scrolling through your messages & discover you never replied khổng lồ an email. Despite your best intentions to answer promptly, you’ve put it off & now don’t know what to say.

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It’s not always easy to lớn put your apology into words, and your approach will vary based on the formality of the relationship or how egregious your delay really was. Here’s some general guidance on crafting an apology e-mail to get you started:

Quick tips for your apology email

Don’t blame anyone else for your delay—take responsibility.

Always be friendly and respectful.

Include the apology in the first sentence.

Don’t go into too much detail about your reasons for the late reply—keep it brief & professional.

Reply lớn all inquiries or information sent in the original email.

Emphasize that you’re willing to lớn communicate further about the issue or request, & if e-mail is your Achilles" heel, suggest a quicker mode of communication khổng lồ expedite the conversation.

Now, let’s look at a few different scenarios lớn see how that communication comes together.

Read more: How khổng lồ Reply lớn a Job Offer Email



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5 email templates to lớn use when apologizing for a late response

Apology e-mail Template #1: General apology email

First, it’s helpful khổng lồ have a jumping-off point with a general template you can adapt lớn whatever situation arises.

Dear ,

First, I just want khổng lồ say I apologize for being so late in getting back khổng lồ you. I meant to lớn respond right away và only just realized I never replied.

I love your idea và have attached more information about how I think I can help. If there’s anything else I can provide, or if you’d lượt thích to schedule a call, please vì chưng let me know.

Thank you for your initial inquiry & again I’m sorry it’s taken me so long lớn respond.

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Best wishes,

Apology EmailTemplate #2: Turning someone down

Let’s say a friend or colleague emailed you asking for your assistance or participation in something, whether joining an escape room team or a workplace committee. You may know right away you don’t want to bởi vì it, & it’s easy to put off responding for fear of how they’ll react. Here’s an email example for this scenario.

Dear ,

First of all, I want lớn apologize for my delay in replying to your request. Thank you for thinking of me for the opportunity, but unfortunately I won’t be able to lớn participate this time around. My workload has been particularly heavy, & I don’t have much extra time right now. But I’ll let you know if anything changes.

Thank you again & please excuse my late reply.

Best regards,

Apology e-mail Template #3: Responding khổng lồ news

Perhaps a colleague emailed to share exciting news or information with you. Maybe they got a promotion or reached an important milestone. While you may have been ecstatic for them when you got the email, taking a long time lớn reply can make it seem like you don’t really care about their accomplishment. Here’s what to say.

Dear ,

I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply khổng lồ your email. As soon as I saw the news I was thrilled for you—congratulations! I simply let my response slip through the cracks, so please excuse my delay.

I’m so glad you decided to nói qua the news with me, và I look forward to lớn seeing what else you’ll be accomplishing in this new role! If I can tư vấn you in any way, let me know.

Best wishes,

Apology email Template #4: You had lớn take time to consider the request

Another common scenario is that you simply needed more time lớn respond to lớn an thư điện tử and have been thinking over someone’s request. While it’s best practice to lớn respond right away và let them know you’ll get back to lớn them soon, sometimes we forget to lớn send that courtesy note. Here’s an example email for this case.

Dear ,

I apologize for my late reply to lớn your email. I wanted khổng lồ be sure I carefully considered the ask before responding, & I had to pull together some information lớn provide everything you requested. Attached please find my response và all applicable details. Do let me know if you have any questions or require anything further lớn move forward.

Sorry again for the delay!

Best regards,

Apology e-mail Template #5: You were asked khổng lồ send something

It can give you a sinking feeling lớn discover that you never sent a requested document, & now it’s been weeks. But, it happens. & one simple e-mail can hopefully resolve any hard feelings or hold-ups.

Dear ,

I just noticed that I never responded to your email, and I’m so sorry for the oversight. Attached is the document you requested, & I hope it’s not too late.

Please excuse my delay & let me know if you have any further questions. I’m also happy to get on a phone call to discuss.

Best wishes,

One last thing: Should you even apologize?

Let’s assume all of the late responses above were sent a week or two (or even a month) after the initial note. A quick apology does wonders. But if you’re responding to an thư điện tử two or three days later, or after a recognized holiday, does that warrant an apology? Probably not. If your instinct is khổng lồ over-apologize for a normal communication cadence, kiểm tra out our alternatives khổng lồ “sorry for the late response.” Then press send on your most dignified reply yet.