Learn English – it called when the word “sorry” is not used for apologizing


When I use the word "sorry" for something I did wrong

I'm sorry I bumped into you.

I would be apologizing. However, when I used the word "sorry" to express pity for something that is not actually my fault,

I'm sorry you couldn't figure that out.

I'm sorry for your loss.

is it still called an "apology" in English? In Chinese, we wouldn't use the same word in these different sentences. I would love to know what this type of sentence is called.

Best Answer

"I'm sorry for your loss" is condolence.

However, that's too strong for "I'm sorry you couldn't figure that out", which is an expression of empathy.

Neither is an apology, which means either an expression of regret for harm you caused, or a defence of your actions.