I am writing a business letter in French as a response to something that I received about a month ago but haven't gotten around to responding to until now. I would like to say (in the culturally appropriate way) that I'm sorry for taking so long to respond, e.g. "Please forgive me for not having written until now" or something along those lines. What's the appropriate way to express this in French?

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    fr.se is not a translation service, but a site where people can ask questions about a particular point or difficulty they have with the language, therefore we expect people to have tried by themselves before. But in the chatroom we talk about anything... even translate whole sentences on demand. Check in the chatroom, I've left you an answer.
    – None
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 6:51
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    @Laure: The question is about a “culturally appropriate way” of expressing a very common (and well defined) kind of apology. I see nothing wrong with this question. It isn't a “translation” question (it was just wrongly tagged — sometimes people learning a language believe that all questions reduce to “translation” questions although they just want to express a well understood idea, not a particular phrasing.) Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:14
  • @StéphaneGimenez Thank you! As a newcomer to this site it was quite shocking to get such a harsh response almost immediately after posting my question.
    – Jason
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 12:17
  • I'm amazed at my response being qualified of "harsh" since I had answered your question straight away and given you the link to see it. If you didn't bother to click on the link, it's your problem, I'm not expecting to be thanked when I give an answer, but I'm not expecting such a comment either. I didn't even ask to have the question closed but I can see three people have asked to have it closed, but apparently they didn't bother to leave you a message. I can see the answer I gave you straight after you'd posted your message is exactly the same as the one you have accepted.
    – None
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 17:17
  • @StéphaneGimenez: I wasn't objecting to the tag - I do admit I don't always look at tags - I was just objecting to the fact that the OP did not propose an option we could comment about, I think it would be more appropriate to say "Is the sentence blablabla the appropriate way of responding to.... " If not fr.se might turn into a translation service which, as far as I can tell, it doesn't want to be. Ok, it's just the one sentence, but next time s.o. else will post a couple of sentences to be translated and we might get carried away.
    – None
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


I would say:

Je vous prie de m'excuser de ne pas vous avoir répondu plus tôt...

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