Apology Letter Format: How To Write and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 June 2021

At some point in your personal and professional relationships, conflicts are going to arise. It may also happen that you are in the wrong some of these times and must make appropriate amends to the people you have hurt or offended. Writing them an honest and heartfelt apology letter can be an effective way to seek forgiveness and restore the relationship.

In this article, we will find out how to use an apology letter format to compose a credible apology and look at some examples of sincere apology letters.

Using an apology letter format

Whether sent in paper format or as an email, the purpose of an apology letter is to acknowledge that you made a mistake, convey your sincere feelings of regret about the incident and ask the letter recipient to forgive you. Writing an apology letter may be necessary for the workplace to resolve a conflict with your colleague, restore your team harmony and establish a physical or digital record of your effort to amend the situation. Your employer and your colleagues are likely to appreciate your ability to self-reflect on your actions, acknowledge your shortcomings, take responsibility for your wrongdoing and find a solution for the situation.

It is not easy to write an apology letter. Still, it is a skill you must develop if you want to retain personal and professional relationships and continue to thrive in your workplace. Using an apology letter format may simplify the writing process.

Related: Social Skills: Definition, Examples and Why They are Important

How to write an apology letter

To write an effective apology letter, you must be clear about what you want to say and you must also respect the recipient's time and say it in a concise, straightforward manner. Here are the apology letter format steps that you can take into account in your writing:

1. Admit that you made a mistake

It will help to begin the apology letter by admitting that you made a mistake in the very first paragraph. That way, the letter recipient will comprehend the purpose of your letter at once. You must explain exactly what you did wrong in a sincere, humble way and let the recipient know that you are reaching out to them directly to make amends. Here is how you might do this:

"Hello Aarti,

I am writing to let you know that I misread the content instructions and sent you the wrong articles yesterday. I realise that my mistake must have held up the project and put you in a tight spot with the client."

2. Make a sincere apology

When writing an apology letter, you must include the phrase "I am sorry". Write it in the second paragraph and do not try to make excuses or insert caveats for your mistake. Trying to give yourself a pass for your actions or attempting to blame other people will not make a good impression. You must take personal responsibility and express regret for the consequences that happened. You might say:

"I am sorry I was so hasty and did not pay proper attention to the necessary details. I am really very embarrassed about creating this situation for you."

3. Explain how you intend to resolve the issue

While apologising for your mistake is a good step to take, it is not enough. You must also find a way to resolve the issue. Rather than simply stating that you will find some way to make amends, the recipient will appreciate it better if you explain specifically what you will do. It shows that you realise that you owe them and have put sufficient thought into putting things right for them. Here is what you can write:

"I have written to the client and let them know that the mistake was from my end and that you are not to blame. I have informed them that I will be sending the correct articles by tomorrow and that I will not make this mistake again."

4. Ask the recipient to forgive you

You can end the apology letter by asking the recipient directly to forgive you. It will let them know that you value your mutual relationship and want to put things right. It gives the recipient the chance to respond and close the issue. You might write:

"I hope you can forgive me and will not be upset with me anymore. Let me reiterate that I will be more careful in the future and will not put you in such a situation again. I would like it if we can put this incident behind us and continue to work well together."

5. Send the apology letter

After writing the apology letter, proofread it for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. You can then consider the situation and decide if it will be better to send it by email or by post or if you should deliver it to the recipient in person or via your supervisor. Regardless of how you send it, the fact that you took the lead in amending your lack of judgement will stand in your favour and, hopefully, help in restoring the relationship.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Tips for writing an apology letter

You may find these tips useful when writing an apology letter:

Write with sincerity

Your apology must be sincere and come across as such to the letter recipient. It will help to be straightforward and avoid making remarks that sound too stiff or impersonal. Put yourself in the recipient's place and try to imagine how you would want someone to write a similar letter to you. After you have finished writing the apology letter, read it aloud to make sure it sounds genuine and natural.

Take full responsibility for your actions

If you were the one to make a mistake, you must take full responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Do not try to salvage your pride or reputation by trying to find reasons to excuse your behaviour or by trying to shift the blame on other people. You must also be prepared to make whatever amends that are necessary, even if it involves having to make a personal sacrifice of some sort.

Keep the letter concise

While apologising sincerely will make a good impression on the letter recipient, they are probably not going to appreciate it if you overdo it. They might find it awkward and unnecessary. Additionally, if they are busy people, it may even annoy them to have read a multi-paged apology letter, however sincere you are. So, keep your letter one page and concise, not more than three or four paragraphs.

Related: An In-Depth Guide to Professionalism

Examples of apology letters

Here are some examples of apology letters that you might find useful:

1. Direct apology letter

Dear Meghnad,

I missed sending you a notification for the informal company get-together on Friday night. I sent a group email and it was only later that I discovered that your contact details were not on the list.

I am really sorry I did not check the list before sending the group email. I assure you that it was not intentional and I feel terrible that you were left out because of my oversight.

You are an essential member of our team and I want you to know that I value the contributions you have been making since you joined us. I apologise for making such a mistake and assure you that I have already entered your details into the list so that the mistake is never repeated.

I hope you will forgive me and not let this incident damage our relationship.

I hope to see you at the next get-together.

Sincerely,

Archana

2. Third-party apology letter

Hello Mrs. Pangare,

I understand that you ordered a keyboard and mouse recently from our online store and that there has been a delay in shipping your purchase.

Please accept my sincere apology on behalf of XYZ Electronics. There was a database error on our end that prevented your order from being fulfilled.

The error has now been resolved and you can expect to receive the products within the next two days.

We will take care that this type of issue does not arise again in the future. We truly value our customers and sincerely hope that you continue to shop with us.

Please feel free to contact me or any of our customer service team if you have any other concerns.

Best Regards,

Arvind Khambatta,

Manager

XYZ Electronics

3. Group apology letter

Hello Team,

This is to inform you that the meeting we were going to have on Tuesday is actually taking place on Thursday. The venue too is not Conference Room 14, but Conference Room 7.

I understand you will all need to reschedule your plans and I apologise for the inconvenience. The management has planned other events for Tuesday and we will need to accommodate that.

I hope you will make a note of the changes and come to the meeting at 4 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you then.

Sincerely,

Kailas Dhokne

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