If I have a misunderstanding with someone I often want to apologise for the argument but still ask for a clarification.

I want to say

Sorry for the argument, but I need more information.

How can I phrase that without blaming anyone?

I've asked a similar question but the "ask for more information" part was missing in a lot of the answers.

Sorry if the conversation became hassly

closed as primarily opinion-based by user140086, ab2, curiousdannii, jimm101, Nathaniel Mar 9 '16 at 13:50

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    "Hey, look. I was confused. I'm sorry. But I'm still confused, and maybe you could help me sort this out." – Hot Licks Feb 25 '16 at 23:22
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    Note that this question isn't really about English, it about inter-personal communication. There really needs to be a separate Stack Exchange "community" for discussing this sort of thing, but I'm not aware of one. – Hot Licks Feb 26 '16 at 1:13

When two people argue, it usually means they disagree about something. In your situation, you don't understand something.

So you could say something like, "Sorry, but I don't understand."

The plot thickens...

Were you, as David McKnight suggested, indeed arguing because of a misunderstanding? In other words, you had a misunderstanding AND an argument?

If that's the case, then that makes it much more complex. You'd probably need to take a little more time to explain yourself. You might say something like this:

"Wow, sorry about the argument; I just realized that I misunderstood what you said. Can you explain it to me again?"

You might emphasize "Let's go back to square one," "Let's start all over," or something like that.

  • the problem is I want to go back to my understanding and ask what part is wrong. – drawde83 Feb 25 '16 at 23:31
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    The part that's "wrong" is where you said sorry for the "argument" when there was no argument. There was a misunderstanding, not an argument. – David Blomstrom Feb 26 '16 at 0:04
  • The OP could have been arguing with someone because they misunderstood something. Then, presumably (if I'm interpreting them correctly) they want to apologize for the argument, then ask for clarification about what the person meant. – David McKnight Feb 26 '16 at 0:18
  • If that's the case, I'd say the OP should probably just be honest with the other person and say "Sorry about the argument. I misunderstood what you were saying. Can you clarify what you meant? I still don't think I understand yet." – David McKnight Feb 26 '16 at 0:19
  • In interpersonal relationships there's very little difference between disagreement and misunderstanding. One begets the other. – Hot Licks Feb 26 '16 at 13:33

Misunderstanding is often used as a euphemism for disagreement, or even fight.

It sounds here that you thought your friend meant something to which you took exception. If you mow believe that your friend may have meant something different, but you misunderstood him, then you can say:

I apologise, I thought you were saying X, and that upset me, but now I realise you only meant Y

If you still think your friend meant what you thought he meant, then it would not be true to say there was a misunderstanding.

It is not really possible to apologise for misunderstanding your friend, and than ask him for clarification. That implies you don't feel confident there has been a misunderstanding at all.

You can say

I am very sorry about the argument. I misunderstood you. I thought you were accusing my sister of being a thief.

then hopefully he may explain that wasn't what he meant. If it was what he meant then he may re-iterate it, or pretend it wasn't.

If you genuinely think you misunderstood what your friend was saying then say so, and apologise. If you think he misunderstood you, apologise and explain what you really meant.

If, in truth, you don't really believe there has been a misunderstanding at all, then you have two options. You can attempt to re-ignite the fight, or you can let the matter drop, after apologising if you feel the friendship is more important than the argument.

You cannot claim there has been a misunderstanding and than ask for clarification.


It's important to understand that argument has two meanings:

• A reason given for or against something

• A quarrel (an angry dispute)

"Sorry for the argument" means "I'm sorry for quarreling with you" (referring to a past event). Also, because argument has negative connotations (implying disagreement), we rarely use it in the first sense anymore.

The best way to clarify something someone is telling you is to say, "Let me be sure I understand you." This does three things:

  1. It makes the other person pause.
  2. It implies that you're interested in what the other person is saying, which makes it more likely they'll make a sincere effort to communicate with you.
  3. It gives you a chance to repeat what you think the person is saying, and/or ask questions, so they can either confirm that you understand them properly or explain how you don't.

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