10 Formal Synonyms for “I Regret to Inform You”

Unfortunately, we can’t always avoid delivering bad news to people.

The recipient may not want to hear the news we have to share, but it’s in their best interest to hear it anyway.

So, what can you say instead of “I regret to inform you”?

This article will explore ways to formally express regret.

Is It Formal to Say “I Regret to Inform You”?

It is formal to say “I regret to inform you.” It’s one of the best ways to share difficult information in professional emails.

You can also use “we regret to inform you.” It works in a very similar way. However, using “we” suggests you represent a company or organization rather than yourself.

Here’s an example to show you how it works:

I regret to inform you that your application has not been successful at this time.


  • It’s a polite way to share negative information.
  • It works well as a professional phrase.


  • It seems insincere because it’s impersonal.
  • It’s generic, so it makes it feel like you don’t care about the recipient.

Generally, “I regret to inform you” is one of the best professional phrases to let someone down with. We still recommend exploring some synonyms to keep things fresh.

Keep reading to learn how to say “I regret to inform you” in an email. We’ll show you the best ways to let someone down gently.

What to Say Instead of “I Regret to Inform You”

  • My deepest apologies, but
  • My sincerest apologies, but
  • It is with regret
  • Unfortunately
  • I regret to say
  • I’m afraid
  • This may disappoint you
  • Please forgive me, but
  • I regret being the one to say this
  • I’m sorry to tell you

1. My Deepest Apologies, But

One of the best ways to politely express regret is “my deepest apologies, but.” It’s respectful and sincere, showing that you wish the circumstances were different.

Generally, you’ll find this one works best when rejecting an applicant. It shows you want to offer them a sincere apology, but you cannot accept them for the role.

It’s a gentle way to break some negative news to someone. Feel free to use it to let people know they weren’t successful (you could even suggest they reapply later if it makes sense).

This email sample should also help you:

Dear Miss Brentford,

My deepest apologies, but the position has been filled. We’re very sorry that it wasn’t the right time for you.

Michelle Young

2. My Sincerest Apologies, But

“My sincerest apologies, but” is a sincere and direct way to apologize. It shows regret, just like “I regret to inform you” and keeps things formal with the recipient.

You can use it when emailing a customer. If they came to you for help, but you could not find a way to help them, this phrase will do the trick.

It shows you regret not being of more assistance. Sometimes, there’s nothing more you can do for someone, though. It’s best to share a sincere apology with them and move forward.

Here’s a great email example if you’re still unsure:

Dear Miss Kirkland,

My sincerest apologies, but we were unable to find a suitable way to solve this for you.

Terrance Howard

3. It Is With Regret

For a more professional alternative to “I regret to inform you,” try “it is with regret.” It’s very useful and gives off a sincere and honest apologetic vibe.

When does it work best, though?

Well, there are plenty of situations when this phrase applies. However, we find it’s most effective when rejecting applicants.

“It is with regret” makes the regret sound slightly more impersonal. Therefore, you can include it when representing an organization (similar to using “we regret to inform you”).

You can also review this example:

Dear Ms. Keating,

It is with regret that we inform you that you were unsuccessful. However, we hope you reapply when a new job is available.

Lewis Sutton

4. Unfortunately

“Unfortunately” is a great choice if you’re looking for something quick and effective. It’s the only one-word alternative on this list, making it the most efficient choice.

You can use “unfortunately” to politely express regret.

It works best as the first word of an email. You can use it when sending a resignation letter if you don’t want to go over the top with your regretful statement.

Perhaps this email example will also help you:

Dear Mr. Pish,

Unfortunately, I have been made a better offer. Therefore, this is my resignation email, and my notice period will start today.

All the best,
Suzanna Branch

5. I Regret to Say

Another way to say “I regret to inform you” is “I regret to say.” We’ve simplified the original phrase slightly by changing “inform you” to “say.”

It’s professional and respectful. Therefore, it’s good to use when emailing an applicant.

It shows you’ve had to reject their application. However, they might still be in with a chance if a different job comes up. You should always use a phrase like this to remain polite and civil.

You may want to refer to this email sample as well:

Dear Ms. Sawyer,

I regret to say that you were not successful at this time. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Kind regards,
Jonathan Ross

6. I’m Afraid

If you’re looking for a more personal touch, include “I’m afraid” at the start of an email.

It shows you regret sharing the bad news with someone. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid being the one who has to provide something bad.

This one can work well when letting a client down. It shows you’re reaching out to provide a more personal and sincere apology. Clients will appreciate this more than a generic corporate apology.

Check out this sample email if you still need help:

Dear Ms. Bennett,

I’m afraid we do not have good news to share with you. However, we hope you continue to rely on us for all your business needs.

Bradley Martyn

7. This May Disappoint You

You should try “this may disappoint you” when letting down an applicant. It shows you’ve reviewed the application, but you don’t think they’re the right fit for your company.

It comes across as sincere and honest. So, you can use it to let someone down as gently as possible.

Incidentally, including “may” in the phrase tends to work best with applicants who don’t already have a job. After all, they might not be as disappointed in the rejection as you think.

Also, this example should help you to understand things better:

Dear Mr. Addison,

This may disappoint you, but we were unable to find a position for you with us. We encourage you to try again another time.

All the best,
Joseph Woodkirk

8. Please Forgive Me, But

“Please forgive me, but” is a personal apology that works well in professional emails.

You can use it instead of “I regret to inform you” to keep things polite and sincere. It works well for a resignation letter when you get along with your boss.

After all, resigning from a job can create problems for your boss. They’ve got to fill your position quickly to avoid any negative effects on the workplace.

Therefore, “please forgive me” is a great way to apologize. It shows you still respect your boss, but you simply found something better.

You can also review this email sample:

Dear Mr. Smith,

Please forgive me, but I will be leaving my position in exactly one month. I’m afraid I’ve been given a better offer.

William Shaft

9. I Regret Being the One to Say This

You can reject an applicant in many ways. One such way is “I regret being the one to say this.”

It’s a great way to let someone know that a position has been filled. We recommend using it to remain friendly with the recipient, even if you’ve had to provide them with bad news.

Also, it sounds much more sincere than most professional options. So, it allows you to maintain a formal tone without dipping too far into the friendly side of things.

Check out this example to find out more about it:

Dear Ms. Adams,

I regret being the one to say this, but the position has been filled. We hope you find success elsewhere.

Dean Thomas

10. I’m Sorry to Tell You

Finally, we recommend using “I’m sorry to tell you” as a personal and friendly alternative. It shows you care about the recipient and regret sharing bad news.

For instance, you can use it when resigning from a job you love. Sometimes, you can’t avoid sending a resignation letter.

After all, if a better opportunity comes up, you’re going to take it, right? So, even though you love the job and the people you work with, you may still need to let them down.

Here is an email sample to show you how it works:

Dear Mr. Scott,

I’m sorry to tell you, but I have decided to resign. I love working here, but a better opportunity came up that I can’t refuse.

Best regards,
Sam Taylor