Are “pardon”, “sorry” and “excuse me” interchangeable?

Many non-native speakers do not know how to use “pardon”, “sorry” and “excuse me” in a sentence. Here are some explanations:

Usage

Excuse me

  • used when you want to get someone’s attention politely, especially when you want to ask a question;
  • used to ask someone politely to move so that you can walk past;
  • used to ask someone to repeat something that they have just said;
  • used when asking permission.

Pardon me

also

I beg your pardon

  • used to ask someone to repeat something that they have just said;
  • used when you want to get someone’s attention politely, especially when you want to ask a question;
  • more formal than excuse me.

Sorry

  • used to express regret;
  • used for telling someone that you are ashamed or unhappy about something that you have done that has hurt or upset them;
  • used for emphasizing that something is so bad that it makes you feel sympathy;
  • used in a social situation as a way of asking someone to forgive you for doing something rude, embarrassing etc.;
  • used for politely disagreeing with someone’s opinion.
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