Is it grammatically OK to use "Sorry for bothering you"? I often hear "Sorry to bother you".

  • Why do you think it might not be grammatically okay? – curiousdannii Nov 12 '14 at 5:15
  • Could you give us more info on why this is confusing, or what your thinking is? It would help us to give you a helpful answer and uncover some interesting aspects of the question :) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Nov 13 '14 at 23:10
  • The answer is: Both are OK and grammatical. [Tip] If the OP had asked why both may or may not be grammatical, and explained where his confusion lies, then maybe the question could be reopen. – Mari-Lou A Nov 17 '14 at 20:13
  • 1
    Yes–no questions are seldom good ones. Not only do they stand virtually no chance of helping future visitors to this site, it it impossible to discern your point of confusion here, what your theories are or what you have considered and consulted, or why you have left out certain obvious permutations and elaborations such as introducing a perfective aspect by saying “sorry for having bothered you” or “sorry to have bothered you”. – tchrist Nov 18 '14 at 3:13
  • Related: How to say “I'm sorry for such a bother” The answers there demonstrate that both forms are acceptable. – Mari-Lou A Nov 18 '14 at 7:44

Right. "Sorry to bother you" is more idiomatic than its other variants.

    "I'm sorry to bother you" puts it unquestionably in the present.

I would use "sorry to bother you" at the beginning of a conversation and "sorry for bothering you" at the end of a conversation.

Having said that, there are several other possibilities, such as:

  • "I'm sorry to be such a bother.
  • "I'm sorry to have bothered you"....etc.

"Sorry for bothering you" would refer to the past. You have asked someone a question, he had to stop what he was doing, and you are apologizing.

With the question in the infinitive, you are putting someone on notice that you are going to make some kind of request/ask a question...

  • Why do you say that it only refers to the past? You could say "Sorry for bothering you, but can you help me with this?" – curiousdannii Nov 12 '14 at 5:14

You would say "Sorry to bother you" if you were at someones doorstep, asking them for a cup of sugar.

You would "Sorry for bothering you" if you had bothered them in the past, although people usually use either in a situation like the above.

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