How to Start and End an Apology Letter? (24 Examples)

You screwed up. Is there a nicer way to say this? Maybe. Are there meaner ways to say this? Most definitely. But the fact of the matter is You. Screwed. Up. Now you have to do the adult thing and take responsibility for your actions, and apologize. Many people prefer a face-to-face apology. However, sometimes this can’t be done. Maybe you are afraid you’ll fluster your words, perhaps say something in anger and just make the situation worse. Maybe this was such a colossal screw up it affected a large number of people. Maybe the person you offended was so offended they relocated to get away from you. An apology letter might not fix everything, but it is a start in the right direction.

This could be a physical document, i.e., a piece of paper with writing, or an e-mail. Either way, it acknowledges the mistake, expresses regret, and respectfully asks for forgiveness or at least patience. Ideally, it would also express an attempt to make restitution if possible. It is important in a workplace environment because it is physical proof that you own their mistakes and try to make up for them.

Free Templates

Free Apology Letter for a Mistake Template

Free Apology Letter for a Bad Behavior sample

Free Apology Letter for Car Accident Template

Free Apology Letter for Customer Template

Free Apology Letter from Drug Addict Template

Free Apology Letter to Friend Template

Free Apology Letter for Girlfriend or Boyfriend Template

Free Apology Letter to Spouse Template

Free Apology Letter to Teachers Template

Free Apology Letter for Business Template

Free Apology Letter to Parents Template

    Why is Writing an Apology Letter so Hard?

    You might think that admitting to a mistake makes you a bad person. Actually, it’s a lack of empathy that makes someone a bad person. If you can empathize with someone you’ve hurt without getting defensive, you show them that one mistake does not reflect on who you are as a person. While apologizing can lead to more accusations, not apologizing can lead to resentment. You can’t control how someone feels, but you can at least try for what would be less toxic on the whole. 

    How to Start an Apology Letter

    Following are the steps for starting an apology letter:

    Acknowledge your mistake

    Right off the bat, accept responsibility for what it is you did. Point out what you did and why it made them upset. Be sincere and humble while showing empathy.

    For example:

    “Dear Father Sullivan, I was the one who e-mailed you erotic fan fiction instead of the annual financial report for the orphanage. I recognize that this caused you embarrassment as well as inconvenience.” 

    Apologize sincerely

    You need to say the words “I am sorry”. Express regret the consequences. Don’t shift blame or give excuses.

    For example:

    “I am truly sorry for not paying more attention to what I attached to my e-mail. I feel terrible that you were exposed to graphic descriptions of furry bondage when you were counting on me to supply the figures needed to plan next year’s budget.”

    Describe what happened

    You can give an explanation, but not an excuse. Still acknowledge there was a wrong, and you intend to right it. This shows that you will back up your words with actions.

    For example:

    “I should not keep my work documents and my online hobby documents in the same file on my computer. I will keep them in separate files from now on. Please find the appropriate documentation attached to this message.”

    Admit you were wrong

    Humbly admit that this was your failing. You may politely request forgiveness on the understanding that you are owed nothing. Realize that the matter is not resolved until your relationship with the receiver is amended. 

    For example:

    “The mistake was mine entirely. I should be more attentive.”

    How to End an Apology Letter

    Below are the guidelines on how to end an apology letter:

    Share your plan to fix the problem

    Propose something that can fix the problem you caused or at least appease the injured party. This may require some thought.

    For example:

    “I will be more attentive in the future. I am planning on getting a work computer so I can keep it separate from my ventures. For now, I apologize to you and anyone else I may have hurt.”

    Ask for forgiveness

    Make this a polite request. The injured party is under no obligation to forgive, but it’s nice to be asked. 

    For example:

    “I humbly ask your forgiveness, Father. I understand fully how you were made upset by this matter, but I hope we can still work together in the future.”

    Deliver the letter

    If you are equals, you can e-mail the person. If the person is your superior, you may have to print it out and deliver it in person. In romantic relationships, you are equals, but handwritten letters are more meaningful. 

    Apology Letter Template

    Dear (Recipient)

    I am very sorry for (whatever it is you did). I understand that this resulted in (acknowledge the results of your actions). I truly regret this, and I am very sorry for any (hurt/ inconvenience/ embarrassment, etc.) this has caused. I accept full responsibility and hope you may forgive me. Rest assured, this behavior will not be repeated. For now, I propose to (describe a plan to rectify the situation.) Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Sincerely, (Your name)

    Types of Apology Letters

    Following are different types of apology letters:

    Free Apology Letter from a Drug Addict Template

    Apology letter from a drug addict

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for Car Accident Template

    Apology letter for a car accident

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for Business Template

    Business Apology Letter

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for a Friend Template

    Apology letter to a friend

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for a Girl Friend Template

    Apology letter to girlfriend or boyfriend

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for Bad Behavior Template

    Apology letter for bad behavior

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for a Mistake Template

    Apology letter for the mistake

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for Customer Template

    Apology letter to customer

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free Apology Letter for Teacher Template

    Apology letter to teacher

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Tips for Writing an Apology Letter

      Following are some tips for writing an apology letter:

      • Be sincere: It needs to be an honest apology. No backhanded “I’m sorry you feel that way”. If you don’t honestly feel sorry, don’t bother. 
      • Be concise: The recipient may be owed a short explanation, but keep it short. They don’t need to wade through War and Peace when “I’m sorry” is enough. 
      • Be selfless: This is all on you. Don’t blame the recipient at all. Even if much of the fault was in someone else, accept your fault in trusting them. 


      A well-written apology letter can clear the air and make it known that this was but an aberration of who you truly are. It expresses that you accept your fallibility and wish to make amends to anyone you’ve hurt. 

      Apologies are never easy, but they are often necessary. It means taking responsibility for what you’ve done and facing the consequences of your actions.  It can be unpleasant, but it is part of being a civilized adult.

      About This Article

      Haley S.
      Authored by:
      Resume Writing, Cover Letter Writing, Content Writing, Curriculum Vitae, Biographies
      Haley Sawyer has transformed the professional narratives of thousands, meticulously crafting resumes and cover letters that unlock the doors to their dream jobs. Whether it is sales, healthcare, or any other domain, Haley's expertise in creating ATS-compatible resumes always stand out in the crowd. Haley's portfolio spans a diverse range of industries: from Healthcare and Business to IT, Sales Leadership, and Engineering. She caters to professionals at all stages, from entry-level aspirants to seasoned C-suite executives. Beyond resumes, her services extend to cover letter writing, crafting compelling biographies, and content writing.

      Was this helpful?

      Great! Tell us more about your experience

      Not Up to Par? Help Us Fix It!

      Keep Reading

      Thank You for Your Feedback!

      Your Voice, Our Progress. Your feedback matters a lot to us.