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I have seen many cases where people in love mention I am sorry I love you. But it might be due to my poor English, I couldn't really understand what they would be referring to. Could you please suggest/tell what could be it?

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Often when you go up to kiss someone, you accidentally step on their toes. – Mitch Oct 12 '12 at 16:45
EL&U is for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts; love questions are not followed. – user19148 Oct 12 '12 at 16:48
@Mitch, thanks but it still puzzles me. Carlo_R, I think this is a English Language Usage Question. Right? I just wondered what could be the real meaning(s) of this. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 16:52
I even did Google search : google.com/search?q=real+meaning+of+i+am+sorry+i+love+you , which lead me nowhere. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 16:54
Could you give us some examples of where you've seen this usage? I've never heard it before and can only imagine its appearance in obscure contexts ("You broke my heart. I'm so sorry that I love you.") – JAM Oct 12 '12 at 17:24
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It depends heavily on the punctuation, and the context.

"I am sorry I love you"

means, "I love you, but, for some unstated reason, I'm sorry that I do."

On the other hand,

"I am sorry; I love you."

means I'm sorry about something, but I want to let you know that I love you.

Note that "sorry" has at least two possible meanings here. In English, "I'm sorry" can be roughly equivalent to "I apologize." Also, "sorry" can be used to express woe or regret.

So, absent more context (and punctuation, maybe), there's no way to know for sure what it means. But leading candidates would include:

  • I regret loving you (perhaps you broke my heart)
  • I apologize for loving you (I know I said we'd remain just friends, but, somehow, I fell in love with you instead)
  • I'm sorry, and I love you (oops! I forgot your birthday – but I still love you!)
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Whenever I've heard this phrase, it's meant the last version you've posted: "I am sorry [for something]. I love you." – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Oct 12 '12 at 18:03
thanks! that was helpful. – gt_ebuddy Oct 12 '12 at 18:43

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