Ich beantworte eine E-Mail eines Kollegen mit einer Verspätung und will mich dafür entschuldigen. Wäre es korrekt, wenn ich schreiben würde: »Bitte entschuldige meine verspätete Antwort«? Oder besser: »Bitte entschuldige, dass ich mit einer Verzögerung auf deine E-Mail reagiere«?

  • 1
    As Hubert Schölnast said in his answer, both variants are correct. However, »Bitte entschuldige, dass ich mit einer Verzögerung auf deine E-Mail reagiere« sounds a bit stilted. I would prefer »Bitte entschuldige meine verspätete Antwort«.
    – Paul Frost
    Sep 3 at 23:37

Beide Möglichkeiten sind grammatisch korrekt und sie sind gutes Deutsch. Es gibt daran nichts auszusetzen. Man kann beide Varianten in dieser Situation verwenden.

  • Danke für die Antwort :) Sep 3 at 7:36
  • 2
    The second option is very formal though. I wouldn't use it among friends. Sep 4 at 11:54

Variant 1: „Bitte entschuldige meine verspätete Antwort.“

Variant 2: „Bitte entschuldige, dass ich mit einer Verzögerung auf deine E-Mail reagiere.“

With both variants, the reader will understand what is meant.

Both variants are grammatically correct.

The first variant is very common in spoken/written language.
The second variant sounds stilted.

Although, unlike the second variant, the first variant is very common, the first variant expresses, strictly speaking, something different:

„Bitte entschuldige meine verspätete Antwort“ = "Please excuse/forgive my delayed reply." = "Please excuse/forgive my reply. Additional information: My reply has the property of being delayed."

In order to illustrate the subtlety let's leave out the word "verspätete"/"delayed".

You get:

„Bitte entschuldige meine Antwort.“ ="Please excuse/forgive my reply."

However, apologizing for the reply itself is not the intention.
The intention is to apologize for the circumstance that the reply comes late.

Therefore, I would probably write something like:

„Bitte entschuldige, dass ich erst so spät antworte.“="Please forgive me for being so late in responding/replying."

„Bitte entschuldige, dass ich für meine Antwort so lange gebraucht habe.“="Please forgive me for taking so long to reply."
(As a side-effect this variant implies that you spend a lot of time composing your reply.)

...and for the sake of logical correctness accept that people may consider my wording slightly unusual.

  • I find the “strictly speaking” part unreasonable. There is no ambiguity about what the apology is for: the “delayed reply”. Yes, qualifying the kind of reply is key, but it’s right there! Removing the qualification changes the meaning and does make the sentence weird. But that’s an unrelated issue. You cannot deliberately make a crucial change to a sentence and from the result draw the conclusion that the original sentence is flawed.
    – besc
    Sep 5 at 8:35

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