I was wondering if there is a culturally appropriate way to say "my bad" in German as in:

My bad! I should've ...

Google translates it as "meine schlechte", but I don't know how trustworthy that is.

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    Not a German speaker but "My bad," is a tremendously American phrase. For example, it is not used by English people, so using it in Britain makes Americans stand out like sore thumbs. I expect that using it in Germany would have a similar effect. Language is culture and culture is language; literal translations rarely work as intended. Nov 1, 2021 at 10:01
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    One of the standards here on SX (and basically all its subs) is that you should show some prior effort in finding a solution yourself before asking. My, admittedly personal, standard for that is that a single Google Translate request is not sufficient. There are plenty of other resources. A better way to ask this would be to provide two or three results from different dictionaries, show how they don't agree and are thus not helpful, and then ask what would be the best translation. Even idiomatic expressions can usually be translated very well in meaning, just not literally. Nov 1, 2021 at 13:36
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    @JamesGeddes I've lived in London all my life and have been told that I am "very British" by Americans and say "my bad". I guess I've been watching too many American TV shows... Nov 2, 2021 at 14:36

2 Answers 2


The appropriate translation depends on the context. A literal translation would be:

Mein Fehler.
Meine Schuld.
Mea culpa.

If the phrase is used to acknowledge responsibility:

Das geht auf meine Kappe.

If the phrase is used as an apology:

Tut mir leid.

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    Das geht auf meine Kappe is colloquial and should not be used in a formal setting. Nov 6, 2021 at 11:51

Given the different kinds of sorry, I've learned "es tut mir leid" as a sympathetic sort of sorry to mean essentially "my condolences" or expressing genuine regret or sorrow - most direct translation I've heard that helped me understand this is "it does me pain / it does me sorrow", whereas a quick "entschuldigung" is warranted when trying to get someone's attention in a casual setting or what you say when you've accidentally bumped into someone.

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