From what I can tell, there are many ways people use the word "sorry". I'm going to cite 2:
- A way to show someone else sympathy for something neither of you had any control over. eg. "I'm sorry that your letter was lost in the mail."
- To apologize for something they did to offend you that they did have control over. eg. "I'm sorry that I was angry with you this morning."
Is context the ONLY way to disambiguate between which version of "sorry" a person is using or is there a better way to use "sorry"? On the same token is there a better word to use than "sorry" in the situations I cited?
The reason I'm asking this is because often times the meaning seems to be lost via miscommunication. ie. the word came across but not in the way the orator meant it. Consider the following example:
- Dave: "I'm going to get a drink from that grocery store, do you want anything?"
- Cindy: "Sure, get me a Coke Zero if they have it. Thanks."
- 5 minutes later
- Dave: "They didn't have Coke Zero so I bought you a regular Coke instead. Sorry."
Did Dave say "sorry" here because he is apologizing for the inconvenience that the store didn't carry Coke Zero or is he saying "sorry" because he failed to bring Cindy her desired drink and feels personally responsable? However frivolous my example may be hopefully you see the point I'm driving at that only Dave knows in which way he said "sorry". I'm hoping one of you can shed some light on this situation in a way that will help me understand how to communicate my "sorry" more efficiently.