apology letter

Apology Letter Format, Tips & Samples | Write a Perfect Apology

Mistakes are a part of life, and every human is entitled to make mistakes in their life. But sometimes, when you make a mistake, it can prove to be damaging. Particularly, if you make a mistake in your workplace, you can cause harm to your reputation, and worse, your job too. So the best advice is that you should always accept and apologize for the mistake that you have made, instead of running away from it. And the best way to apologize to a workplace is to write an apology letter format.

Always take up the path of honesty, don’t try to hide your mistakes. Acknowledge the wrong that you did and think of how to apologize for it. The sooner, the better. Always be honest in your apology and do not just say sorry for the sake of it. Be sorry because you feel so, and then decide the medium of apology. You can always apologize verbally, but an apology letter is always preferable since it is a formal medium. 

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A formal apology letter is not just about the words that you choose to write. It is also the format of an apology letter that makes it formal, one appropriate for apologizing in office premises. The apology letter should always be on point, no exaggerations and you should always make sure to check twice for any grammatical errors. An apology letter should show that you are responsible and can be trusted. If you use the right words, the mistake is sure to heal and not come in between your way of work. 

An apology letter will not show that you are weak or lesser than anyone. If you choose the right words and follow the format of an apology letter, the letter will all be about you respecting the recipient of the apology letter and vice versa. Yes, it can be difficult to apologize since no one has the habit of apologizing and we think it would create a bad impact on our character if we accept that we made a mistake. But just face the truth, making a mistake and running away by not accepting it is even worse. 

Before we elaborate on the apology letter format, let us have an overview of the elements that should essentially be a part of an apology letter.

Elements of an Apology Letter:

  • Be sorry, without any excuse for your mistake.
  • Show the recipient that you are willing to accept the mistake that you made.
  • Be descriptive about your mistake. You should be clear about the fact that you know what your fault is and you understand the wrong done. This way the recipient would feel that you are genuinely concerned about the harm that your mistake has caused. 
  • Make the person aware of how you plan to fix the situation. Give a proper explanation in your apology letter. This will calm down the other person when they will notice that you are actually trying to make things fine again.
  • Give your word that you won’t repeat the mistake and ensure that you shall always be at your best behavior. A healthy professional relationship will only be possible if you give your word that you would avoid repeating the mistake in the near future. 
  • Make it clear that you do regret what all happened and ask for forgiveness. If you ask for forgiveness, it shows that you do have the intention of making things fine. 
  • Ask the recipient to accept your apology duly. 
  • Let the letter only be about the apology. Do not add unnecessary statements. Make it a formal letter, and be to the point, so that it fits in the apology letter format.

What all to keep in mind, before starting with the format of an apology letter:

  • Mean what you say. Apologizing and not meaning a word you say will only have an adverse effect. It will make the recipient think that you are giving a false apology. If you are not sincere with your words, chances are that you can end up in a place that would be worse than your initial position.
  • Know your exact position when you write the letter. Think of your colleague/manager’s position about how they must have been affected by your actions on a personal as well as professional level. If you do this, you are sure to write the most genuine apology.
  • Do not try to justify your actions with excuses. And never try to blame it on another person, dodging away from the mistake yourself. If you are unable to justify, then just don’t. Giving no reason at all is always better than giving a false reason. 
  • You made a mistake, you should apologize. But do not sit and back and keep on dwelling at the mistake. Do not bring the apology letter to a point where it feels that you are dwelling on your mistake. 

How To Structure Before Starting With The Apology Letter Format:

  • Sender’s Address: The topmost detail in the apology letter should be the address of the writer of the letter, written on the left-hand corner of the page. 
  • Date: Until and unless it’s an e-mail, the date should be written just below the address of the letterhead. 
  • Subject: Since it’s an apology letter, not much thinking is required for writing the subject. A simple “apology letter” is sufficient to describe what the letter is going to be about.
  • On Arrival Notice: This step is not compulsory though. You can always add an On-arrival notice if you want one, and let it be if you do not need one. But because it is an apology letter and may contain some sensitive content, it is advisable to put the notice so that the apology letter does not fall in the wrong hands.
  • Salutation: Now, since the letter is a personal apology letter, even if your relationship with the recipient is the first-name relationship, it is proper to address them as “Dear Susan” or “Dear Ashley”.
  • The First Paragraph: Start your letter with your apology itself. 
  • Body: After apologizing, explain and justify your mistake. Acknowledge the wrong that you did and take responsibility.
  • Ending Paragraph: Ensure that you won’t repeat the mistake in the future and be at your best possible behavior inside the premises. 
  • Last Words: Before signing off, offer another apology genuinely.
  • Name And Signature: Finish the letter like any other formal letter. Mention your name, your signatures and your contact information. And that is how you should structure the apology letter format.

Also, click here to learn how to write a professional email.

Samples of An Apology Letter:

SAMPLE 1: Apologizing for absence from an important event

G-09/765, Tilak Nagar
New Delhi

Date: 05th June 2019

Subject: Apology Letter

Dear Anna,

I am sorry for my absence from the meeting that was held by you this morning. Also, I am aware of the negative effect that my absence must have caused on our team’s name. I regret the absence all the more because I was supposed to give a presentation at the meeting. I am sorry for letting you and the team down. 

As a responsible employee, I take full responsibility for my absence and not being able to inform you about the same on time. My daughter has not been keeping well for three days now. I had to urgently take her to the hospital today. Her body temperature was increasing at a very fast pace. My husband has been traveling since the past week due to work. Therefore, I could not have asked anyone to do the same either. 

In an attempt to make the situation a little better, I have mailed my presentation to everyone on the team. I hope that each one of them will go through it once. I have even sent in an explanation to everyone regarding my absence. Please let me know if there is anything else that I can do. I genuinely want to make up for the loss of time and loss of opportunity that was given to me. 


SAMPLE 2: Apology for displaying unacceptable behavior

144/20, 3rd floor,
Kirti Palace,

Date: 15th August 2018

Subject: Apology Letter

Dear Raj,

Please accept my sincere apology for the kind of behavior I exhibited this morning. It was not right on my part to not give you a chance to explain. You must have thoroughly thought before making changes in my team’s project at the last minute. I accept that I assumed things on my own and that was inappropriate.

It is only after you explained to me in detail that I realized how absurdly I had reacted. The effect of the addition of a new member would actually yield positive results. I reacted unreasonably and lost my temper in the heat of the moment. But I understand that there is no appropriate explanation for the way I behaved. Hence, I want to convey to you that I deeply regret my actions.

I hope this letter manifests my will to make amends for my mistake. It would be really appreciable if you could accept my apology and give me another chance. I assure you that I regret my comments and I shall support you completing the team project henceforth.


SAMPLE 3: Apology to a client or customer

ABC Company,
Mumbai, Maharashtra

Date: 30th January 2017

Subject: Apology Letter

Dear Mr. Medina,

I would hereby like to sincerely apologize to you on behalf of ABC Company. We are sorry to hear about your dissatisfaction and unhappiness with our company. We genuinely regret the delay in the services that are offered to you by the software development team. The team should have kept the deadline in mind while planning the work. 

We understand that it would have been infuriating for you to be answerable to your team because of the delay. At ABC, it is our main agenda to complete the given projects in due time. And we have hereby made the guidelines more strict for the deadline of a project. We assure you that there will be no second time for such an unprofessional occurrence. 

The company wants to assure that you shall never again be given a chance to regret being affiliated with our services. You are our esteemed client and we would be grateful to have a second chance to work for you. Please consider our apology.

Kind Regards,
Richard Smith, Manager

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