Apologies and giving bad news key words speaking game

Teacher’s instructions and cards to photocopy and cut up

  • Photocopy and cut up one pack of the cards for each group of two or three students. They should deal out the cards and look at them, but preferably not show them to each other.
  • Set up roleplays that involve lots of apologies and giving bad news, such as a business meeting where everyone competes to give more bad news. To discard a card, the students must use a phrase with that word on it during the speaking activity. Phrases can only be used once, so if someone has already discarded the same card, they must make sure they then use a phrase which is at least a little different.
  • When the game has finished, get the students to brainstorm at least three phrases using each of the words on the cards, then check as a class and/or ask them to compare their ideas to the suggested answer sheet. Perhaps after testing each other on the phrases (filling in key words that their partner leaves out of phrases then brainstorming phrases for one key word with the help of their partner), they could then play the same game again, trying to use the phrases they brainstormed and were given.


accept accept accept


afraid afraid afraid


apologies apologies apologies


apologize apologize apologize


excuse excuse excuse


fault fault fault


forgive forgive forgive


regret regret regret


sorry sorry sorry



Apologies and giving bad news key words speaking game

Suggested answers


Accept – Please accept my apologies./ I accept (full) responsibility./ I accept that I am to blame./I accept that it’s my fault


Afraid – I’m afraid…/ I’m afraid I have some bad news.


Apologies – Please accept my sincere apologies (for…)/ Please accept my sincerest apologies (for…)


Apologise – I apologise (for…)/ I would like to apologise (for…)/ I must apologise for…/ I really must apologise for…/ I do apologise (for…)/ I apologize wholeheartedly (for…)/I apologise unreservedly (for…)/ I (would like to) apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Excuse (n/ v) – There is (really/ absolutely) no excuse for…/ Please excuse my behaviour/ Please excuse my thoughtlessness./ (Please) excuse me for…


Fault – It was my fault./ It was all my fault./ I accept that it’s my fault./ I was at fault (for…)


Forgive – I don’t know how you can ever forgive me./ Please forgive me (for…)/ You must forgive me (for…)/ I hope one day you can forgive me (for…)/ It’s unforgivable, I know


Regret – I regret…/ I regret my actions./ I regret to inform you that…/ I would like to express my regret


Sorry – I’m really sorry./ I’m so sorry./ I’m sorry to announce that…/ I’m sorry, but…/ I’m sorry if…/ I really am so sorry./ I really am most terribly sorry./ I am sorry to have disappointed you./ I cannot express how sorry I am (for…)/ I’m sorry to say (that) …/ I’m sorry to tell you (that) …/ I am sorry to have to tell you that …


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Apologies and giving bad news key words speaking game

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