I need an expression for the following context: I had been insisting on an issue, (believing in good faith that I was right) but later realized I was just totally wrong.

What is the most effective way to say that I was "wrong" without using this word?

I am not looking for what can be the best attitude but for the best way to excuse myself without admitting I was wrong and without putting the blame on someone else.

closed as too broad by tchrist, RegDwigнt May 29 '14 at 13:16

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  • 1
    You can say - 'Apologies. It was my mistake'. – Veronica Diamond May 29 '14 at 6:39
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    Honesty is the best policy, swallow your pride and admit you were wrong and be done with it. – Mari-Lou A May 29 '14 at 6:51
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    @medica - while I agree with you, my question is not about the best attitude but about the best way to excuse yourself without admitting you are wrong and without putting the blame on someone else. – user66974 May 29 '14 at 7:07
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    That's what I'm asking. Why bother apologizing if you don't want to admit you're wrong? Why not go whole hog and blame the other person? It's only marginally worse ethically. – anongoodnurse May 29 '14 at 7:10
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    "Please, forgive me" That's very effective, but something tells me you'll disagree. – Mari-Lou A May 29 '14 at 7:20

You can say:

I stand corrected.

Possibly add an apologetic phrase at the end or the beginning.


You could say it the other way round:

Instead of saying that you were wrong, say that he was right.

Something like:

I thought about it and you were right all along


OK, you win. Let's say honor and generosity of spirit are worthless and should have been cast off ages ago. Here are my suggestions for effectively addressing the situation while not apologizing*.

The lawyerly approach:

A dispassionate and disinterested review of the facts will confirm that I have not engaged in any misconduct. I did my best to navigate through the challenge we faced, and I deeply regret our miscommunication.

The underused if:

If... I misunderstood you in any way, I deeply regret it. (It is crucial to emphasize the if.)

The existential approach:

Mistakes were made, but by whom? Well, it doesn't matter. Nothing is real.

The apology for something else approach:

Hey, man, that whole f*cking thing was just totally f*cked up. Real sh*t. Pardon my French. Sorry, I got carried away.

The OJ Simpson approach:

I didn't make a mistake. But, if I had made a mistake, this is how I would have done it. (Give a near fictional account of your behavior.)

The innocent-by-association approach:

I think a lot of folks misunderstood that issue. We're all human.

The I'm wonderful approach:

I understand how we might have disagreed. I am very understanding of human nature, and have years of experience being a decent human being. I actually learned a lot about disagreements while volunteering at a soup-kitchen every month for the last 7 years. Disagreements were quite common in the food line.

The Happy Meal approach:

About that thing: I apolog... Oh! What have we here? This is fun!

The reverse-psychology approach:

Disagreement is healthy. We should enjoy a good laugh about this. Laughter is healthy, too. I'm so glad we can agree.

*In no particular order of innocence.

  • This is insanely great. Now just wrap them all in a magic 8(/9)-ball... – smci May 29 '14 at 12:41

"...later realized I was entirely mistaken".


And then there's the stock formulation that has been well polished by the lips of politicians down the ages:

"Mistakes were made".

  • I wish that I could +1 this twice. – dotancohen May 29 '14 at 10:57

I understand you want to avoid admitting you were wrong, if so you may say:

Sorry, I may have misunderstood! as a way to excuse yourself.

  • I'd say: "I must have misunderstood". At least you're admitting to being wrong. You can suggest it, if you want. – Mari-Lou A May 29 '14 at 7:10
  • Yes, can be a good alternative! – user66974 May 29 '14 at 7:13

"I concede"

would be my choice.


to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something) : to admit (something) usually in an unwilling way


to acknowledge as true, just, or proper; admit: He finally conceded that she was right.


perhaps you could say

I thought my solution was the best, but I have to admit that there are factors that were not being considered when I delivered my arguments, fortunately I have figure out this early that there's something we have to reconsider, and I understand the predicament that I'm in, and I'll do a quick alternative to fix this.


There is no better way. Apologies should be short, explicit and to the point. You were wrong, saying you were wrong is the best way to apologise.

The question you need to be asking is why you don't want to apologise in the best way?

Are you too prideful to admit your mistake? Do you imagine you'll lose face by apologising? Do you think people will think less of you? (You're probably wrong about these things, by the way)

But here are some options if you want to offer a pseudo-apology while gracefully admitting your error:

"After some consideration, I've decided you were right."

"I made a mistake in thinking X, and I now conclude your approach is the right approach."

"I've been reading some more about Z, and I now agree we should do Y."

Or you could simply act like the other idea is yours:

"I've been thinking about it, and we should do Y"

"Change of plan, let's do Y"