A did something wrong but didn't realize it. B explained to A why what (s)he did was wrong. Then A said: "Sorry then". Is A really sorry?

Literally, "sorry then" (in my head) means in light of the new information, I am sorry. But my friend say the 'then' after the sorry means A said it reluctantly and (s)he is not really sorry.

So which is it? Do you have any more examples of when placing 'then' after a statement makes it imply the speaker's reluctance?

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    Unconditional apologies are rare, but good when they come along. I can imagine someone being sincere in saying, I'm sorry, then (implying acknowledgement of hurt done.) But I can also imagine it tossed off insincerely. The context, tone, expression, (body language) all matter. – anongoodnurse Mar 21 '14 at 11:39
  • @medica picking your brains...can you think of another example of when 'then' denotes reluctance? – dayuloli Mar 21 '14 at 11:40
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    Good question. All ok: See you, then, good luck then... maybe, do it yourself, then. And certainly, You go first then. But generally, I don't think then implies hesitancy. Maybe someone else can give you a better answer. :) – anongoodnurse Mar 21 '14 at 11:45
  • @medica thank you for your comments! The 'Do it yourself, then' sounds a little hostile to me. It is these context to which I refer to. – dayuloli Mar 21 '14 at 11:52
  • @dayuloli - but does it sound less hostile if it is just "Do it yourself"? Both may show some asperity, but saying one is more than the other is a bit dicey. – Oldcat Mar 21 '14 at 21:33

I don't see how it could imply reluctance. But in the context 'then' could mean 'in that case', now that I know I did something wrong.

From Oxford English dictionary 'then' can means: ... a. In that case; in those circumstances; if that be (or were) the fact; if so; when that happens. Often correlative to if or when. what then? (ellipt.) what happens (or would happen) in that case? what of that? ...

  • Thank you for your response, I understand what it literally means, but I'm looking for possible meaning behind the use of the word. – dayuloli Mar 21 '14 at 11:51
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    I tried google to find examples of the expression, but I couldn't get something more than the literal meaning. Sorry – Makaonte Argivo Mar 21 '14 at 16:37

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