One of the great obstacles to saying ‘sorry’ is the fear that you will be misunderstood.

That’s why people keep landing on this site by typing letter of apology template into their nearest search engine. They don’t want to write the wrong thing.

Sadly, they arrive at a post that advises them to put down their pens, pick up the phone and grovel for all they’re worth.

It’s good advice. More people should follow it. Indeed, I’m thinking of creating a new ‘contact me’ page on this site and calling it ‘grovel now‘.

Still, I’m ever keen to be helpful. If you are the sort of person who finds it difficult to pick up the phone and grovel, then here is my letter of apology template. It’s adaptable for all situations – all you have to do is slice out the phrase [harbouring a tortoise] and subsitute (in your own words, I’m afraid) the incident for which you feel remorseful.

Dear Sir,

I am very sorry that I have been [harbouring a tortoise]. It was a shameful thing to do, and I am filled with remorse at the pain and distress it must have caused you. Please accept my apology for this moment of madness. I am not normally the sort of person who goes around [harbouring a tortoise]. It’s just plain wrong.

Yours most sincerely,

[Add your name here. Your name is not ‘harbouring a tortoise’.]

There you go. Just be careful to change the stuff in brackets. I’m not writing you a letter of apology if you use it to tell your bank manager that you’ve been harbouring his tortoise. It really wouldn’t be my fault.