6 Handy Ways to Say ‘Sorry for the late reply’ in Spanish

Picture it: you sign into your email and realize that there’s one important message that you’ve yet to reply to (uh-oh!).

Obviously you’re going to want to start your response with a heartfelt ‘sorry for the late reply’ … but how on earth do you say it in Spanish?

Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve prepared a list of 6 ways to express exactly that!

Let’s get to it!


KEY TAKEAWAYS


Sorry for the late reply’ is most commonly expressed in the following ways –

1. Disculpa la demora de mi respuesta. = Sorry for the late reply.

2. Disculpa mi tardanza en responder. = Sorry for the late reply.

3. Disculpa por tardar en responder. = Sorry for taking so long to answer.


‘Disculpa’ means ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse (me)’ in English, and it’s the second person singular conjugation (i.e., ‘tú’) of the verb ‘disculpar’ in the “imperative mood”.

If you’re talking to an authority figure, a stranger, an elderly person or if you just want to be respectful, you can use the more formal ‘disculpe’ (usted’ form) instead.

Disculpe por tardar en responder. = Sorry for taking so long to answer.




1 Disculpa / disculpe la demora de mi respuesta – Sorry for the late reply

As we’ve already established, ‘disculpa’ means ‘sorry’ and ‘una demora’ is ‘a delay’. So, if you attempted to translate this phrase literally, you’d get something along the lines of ‘excuse the delay of my reply’, which obviously sounds SUPER formal in English!

In Spanish it’s still a polite phrase, but its formality depends more on which conjugation of ‘disculpar’ you plump for: ‘tú’ (‘disculpa’) or the formal ‘usted’ (‘disculpe’).

A tu profesor

Disculpe la demora, profesor. Le envío el ensayo con las referencias que faltaban.



To your teacher

Please excuse the delayed response, Professor. Here’s the essay with the missing references.


A un cliente potencial, a quien buscas parecerle accesible

¡Disculpa la demora de mi respuesta! Me gustaría compensarlo haciéndote un descuento en tu próxima compra.



To a potential customer, to whom you’re looking to seem approachable

Sorry for the late reply! I’d like to make up for it by giving you a discount on your next purchase.


Wanna sound extra casual?

Just say ‘disculpa la demora’ (and ditch the rest of the phrase) –

¡Disculpa la demora, amiga! Me quedé sin batería y ya no te pude responder.

Sorry for not replying, sis! My cell phone died, so I couldn’t answer.

2 Disculpa / disculpe mi tardanza en responder – Sorry for the late reply

If you wanna mix things up a bit, feel free to use ‘tardanza’, another Spanish adjective meaning ‘delay’, instead of ‘demora’.

Disculpa mi tardanza en responder. No sabía qué decir después de nuestra última conversación.

Sorry for the late reply. I just didn’t know what to say after our last conversation.

And if you’d rather sound more casual, just say –

¡Disculpa mi tardanza!

Sorry for the delay (in replying)!

3 Disculpa por tardar en responder – Sorry for taking so long to answer

You can also use the phrase ‘disculpa por tardar en responder’, which is similar in meaning to the English ‘sorry for taking (so) long to answer’.

Keep in mind that you can always switch to the formal ‘disculpe’ in order to sound more formal and/or respectful.

Disculpe por tardar en responder; le enviaré su factura hoy mismo.

Sorry for taking so long to respond; I’ll send you your invoice today.



4 Disculpa que haya tardado tanto en responder – Sorry for taking so long to answer

This one literally translates to ‘sorry it’s taken me so long to answer’.

Don’t forget that subjunctive (‘haya tardado’) after ‘disculpa que’!

En una conversación de Whatsapp

Karina – Hola…Oye, ya no me dijiste si vas a ir a la fiesta el viernes.

Magda – ¡Híjole*, Kari! ¡Disculpa que haya tardado tanto en responder! Los exámenes me tienen vuelta loca y había olvidado esta conversación.



In a Whatsapp conversation

Karina – Hi … hey, you didn’t tell me if you were going to the party on Friday.

Magda – OMG, Kari! Sorry it’s taken me so long to answer! These exams are driving me up the wall and I completely forgot.

Erika’s note – híjole is a fun – and incredibly widespread – Mexican expression, akin to ‘darn’, ‘jeez’ and the like.


5 Una disculpa / Mis disculpas por la tardía respuesta – Apologies for the late response

A ‘tardía respuesta’ is actually the closest thing we have to a ‘late reply / response’ in Spanish.

HOWEVER, despite how common the phrase ‘late reply’ is in English, its Spanish equivalent is actually rather uncommon (and super formal)!

Una disculpa por la tardía respuesta, señor. Le confirmamos su reservación para el 19 de mayo.

Apologies for the late response, Sir. We confirm your reservation for May 19.

6 Lamento haber tardado en responder – I’m sorry I took so long to respond

This one’s a bit more heartfelt than some of the other phrases on this list.

And, yeah, the verb ‘lamentar’ looks a lot like the English ‘to lament’ …

… but in Spanish it’s actually means ‘to be sorry’, so it’s best reserved for when you really mean it!

Lamento haber tardado en responder. Realmente espero que este mensaje no te llegue demasiado tarde.

I’m sorry I took so long to respond. I really hope this message doesn’t come too late.


Final thoughts

Hopefully you’re now all set to write that important reply (even if you’ve taken your time with it!).

If you still feel a bit out of your comfort zone when writing in Spanish, just choose one of the first three options (they’re the safest bets!).

Oh, and if you wanna level up your conversational skills, you’ll definitely enjoy our list of all the ways to say have a good weekend’ in Spanish!

¡Hasta la próxima!

Rupert's lived in Mexico for nearly a decade and has been working as a Spanish teacher for even longer (over 10 years now, wow!). He specializes in simple (yet effective) explanations and is a veritable grammar-whizz.

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