I would like to be able to express Sorry, not now, I am too busy, or simply the idea that I am busy right now.

I am not sure what to choose between besetzt and beschäftigt to say busy. I don´t really know what difference would it make to use one or the other.

I would say something like:

Entschuldigung / Entschuldigen Sie, nicht jetzt, ich bin zu beschäftigt.

...but I have a strong feeling that this suggestion of mine is not correct.

  • It's fine :)... except "entschuldigeN Sie"
    – Emanuel
    Jan 28, 2015 at 15:12
  • Yeah, with n, I fixed it.
    – Em1
    Jan 28, 2015 at 15:13
  • 2
    Objects (toilet, telephone line, seats) are besetzt*/*occupied.
    – Em1
    Jan 28, 2015 at 15:16

3 Answers 3


Beschäftigt is the right choice here because besetzt would translate back to occupied in this context.

Your suggestion is not incorrect. You could however vary by adding gerade (for the right now) and/or skipping the not now.


Entschuldigen Sie, aber ich bin gerade sehr beschäftigt.


Oder umgangssprachlich:

Tut mir leid, ich hab(e) zu tun.


First we have to see who's talking to whom saying "Sorry, not now, I am too busy".

A boss towards an employee would say "Sorry, not now", but probably wouldn't add "I am too busy", not having to explain why this isn't the right time to interrupt.

An employee towards the boss would probably put it at all differently.

But an employee would say that to another employee or to a family member or a friend. This implies a more informal or colloquial expression, e.g.

Tut mir leid, im Moment geht es nicht, ich habe zu tun

To show your obligation you can add "gerade" or "im Moment" to express that the occupation is temporary and you will soon be ready to divert your attention to the person you're talking to (already included in the example above, don't use it twice in a sentence), and you can add "viel" to express that your workload really has to be your primary concern right now.

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