9 Other Ways to Say “Sorry for the Delay”

There are plenty of reasons to delay your response in an email. Life often gets in the way, making it hard to send a response at an appropriate time.

But is “sorry for the delay” the best phrase to include in a formal email? This article will look into how to apologize for a delay professionally.

Is It Professional to Say “Sorry for the Delay”?

It is professional to say “sorry for the delay.” It’s a useful way to show regret for forgetting to respond to someone in a reasonable time.

We recommend using it in formal emails because it is polite. It’s a great way to show that you didn’t mean to be so late with your response.

Here’s a great example to show you how it works:

I’m very sorry for the delay. A few things came up at work that I couldn’t ignore.


  • It’s a polite way to apologize for a late response.
  • It’s very professional.


  • It’s quite impersonal.
  • It’s overused, so you could benefit from more creative phrases.

While “sorry for the delay” is certainly effective, other phrases work just as well in formal emails. It’s good to have an idea about them to decide which works best in your emails.

So, read on to learn how to professionally apologize in an email. We will explore new options instead of saying “sorry for the delay.”

What to Say Instead of “Sorry for the Delay”

  • Apologies for the delayed response
  • Sorry this took so long to get back to you
  • I’m sorry I’m late
  • I did not mean to keep you waiting
  • It was not my intention to make you wait
  • Sorry i delayed getting back to you
  • I apologize for the delay
  • Please accept my apology for the late response
  • Pardon the delay

1. Apologies for the Delayed Response

Let’s figure out how to say “sorry for the delay” without saying “sorry.” A good contender is “apologies for the delayed response.”

It’s a really polite phrase showing you regret taking such a long time to reply.

You may also want to explain why your response was delayed. However, in most cases, the apology in itself is good enough for the recipient. Determining how much of an apology you want to provide is up to you.

This email example should also help you understand it:

Dear Tommy,

Apologies for the delayed response. I wasn’t sure about the best way to answer your question until now.

Ryan Moana

2. Sorry This Took So Long to Get Back to You

You can say sorry to a customer by writing “sorry this took so long to get back to you.”

It’s a really professional and polite phrase to include in a business email. It shows regret, especially if you have to take some time to ask around before answering someone’s question.

We highly recommend using this when sending a late response. It’s very polite, and most recipients will appreciate your honesty.

After all, you took a while to reply because you were trying to figure out the best way to help them.

Here’s a great email sample to show you how it works:

Dear Jessie,

I’m sorry this took so long to get back to you. Please let me know if there’s anything I need to change in the attachment.

Kind regards,
Martha Sewing

3. I’m Sorry I’m Late

If you’re going for a more conversational apology, you can try “I’m sorry I’m late.” It works well when emailing colleagues in a more casual capacity.

Generally, this allows you to explain why you were late. It’s a great way to let someone know that you didn’t mean to take longer than expected to reply to them.

If you have a good working relationship with them, your reasons (or excuses) should be acceptable.

Don’t forget to check out this sample email:

Dear Maria,

I’m sorry I’m late with this reply. I have, however, gathered all the necessary information to help you move forward.

All the best,
Scotty Lang

4. I Did Not Mean to Keep You Waiting

You can say “I did not mean to keep you waiting” in most formal emails.

It shows that you did not intend to make someone wait before you provided them with information. However, sometimes these things are out of your control.

Of course, you have to be careful with this synonym. It does not take full responsibility for making someone wait.

Saying “I did not mean to” is an insincere way to accept the blame for something. Of course, you can still use it to apologize for a late payment, but you should only do so if the client is someone you know well who won’t mind that you’re a bit behind schedule.

You should also refer to the following example:

Dear Bobby,

I did not mean to keep you waiting on this late payment. However, here is the invoice relating to it.

Kind regards,
Gareth Southgate

5. It Was Not My Intention to Make You Wait

“It was not my intention to make you wait” is another great synonym for “sorry for the delay.” We recommend using it to apologize for a delay on a task.

It’s a great way to tell someone you regret waiting before replying.

However, much like saying “I did not mean to make you wait” from the previous section, this phrase has an issue. It implies that you do not accept full responsibility for making some wait.

This email sample should help you if you still need it:

Dear Benjamin,

It was not my intention to make you wait on this task. I hope we can sort something out for it.

Best wishes,
Veronica Myers

6. Sorry I Delayed Getting Back to You

To sound genuine and honest in your apology, you can use “sorry I delayed getting back to you.”

It’s a great way to apologize for a late response, especially if someone was relying on you to answer a few questions.

You might use this when emailing customers who need your help. If it’s been a few days since you last messaged them, this is a good way to try and apologize. After all, a late response is often seen as a mistake on your part rather than something deliberate.

Here’s a great email example to help you:

Dear Christina,

Sorry I delayed getting back to you on this. It was not my intention, but I had to ask a few questions before I sent a reply.

Brian Kensington

7. I Apologize for the Delay

You should write “I apologize for the delay” in most formal emails. It’s a respectful way to show that you appreciate that you’ve made someone wait.

It’s also a suitable apology, making it useful to include when you don’t want to upset the recipient.

Generally, “I apologize for the delay” shows that you accept full responsibility for your actions. It shows you did not mean to make someone wait or delay them, but you had no choice.

Here’s a great example to show you how it works:

Dear Julia,

I apologize for the delay. I have attached the latest invoice to correct the situation.

All the best,
Damian Wallace

8. Please Accept My Apology for the Late Response

It’s worth using “please accept my apology for the late response” in most professional emails.

We really like this phrase because it shows you genuinely regret replying late.

Of course, because of the specificity of the phrase, it only works when you took longer than expected to reply. It shows that you would like the recipient to accept your apology because you did not want to reply as late as you did.

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

Dear Kath,

Please accept my apology for the late response. I had a very busy work week and couldn’t get away from the phone.

Kind regards,
Jackson Polio

9. Pardon the Delay

If you’re looking for a phrase that works in almost every situation, you can say “pardon the delay.”

It’s a versatile apology that shows you regret taking time before responding to someone.

For instance, you can use it if you reply later than expected. That tends to be the most common way to use it when emailing clients.

However, you can also use it to apologize for your late payment. It even works to apologize for a late task in the workplace. The possibilities are endless as long as you’re genuinely sorry about keeping someone waiting.

Here is an example to show you what we mean:

Dear Patricia,

Pardon the delay. It was not my intention to give you a late payment, and I hope you weren’t waiting for too long.

Kind regards,
George Washington