12 “Sorry To Bother You” Synonyms You Can Use in an Email

In emails, it’s common to worry about bothering the person you’re writing to. Saying “sorry to bother you” is one way to be polite, but it can get repetitive.

This article lists 12 different ways to say it, keeping your emails fresh and respectful. Each alternative is explained with examples, helping you choose the right one for any situation.

Is It Professional to Say “Sorry to Bother You”?

Using the phrase “sorry to bother you” can be seen as both professional, formal or informal, and polite. This phrase shows that you’re considerate of the other person’s time and attention. However, its appropriateness depends on the context, who you’re speaking to, and how you deliver the message.

This phrase is most suitable in situations where you need to interrupt someone, ask for assistance, or bring up a new topic that wasn’t previously on the agenda. It’s well-suited for emails, messages, or even in-person conversations with colleagues, clients, or superiors where you want to acknowledge that you’re seeking their time or input unexpectedly.

Here’s an example:

Hi Thomas,

Sorry to bother you, but could you please send me the latest version of the project timeline? I need it to update our team on tomorrow's call.

Thank you for your help,

Let’s consider the pros and cons of using this phrase:


  • Shows politeness and consideration for the recipient’s time.
  • Softens the request, making it more likely for the recipient to respond positively.
  • Can make communication feel more personal and thoughtful.


  • May undermine your confidence or imply that your request is an unwelcome interruption.
  • Overuse can dilute its sincerity or impact.
  • In certain contexts, it might be seen as overly apologetic or unnecessary.

Sometimes, using a different phrase might be better. If you find yourself reaching for this phrase often, it might suggest that you’re unsure about your requests or communications. Looking for synonyms or alternatives can help make your language more varied and precise. This way, you can express politeness without diminishing the importance of your message.

12 “Sorry To Bother You” Alternatives

Looking for different ways to express consideration in your emails? Here are 12 professional synonyms you can use instead of saying “Sorry to bother you.”

  1. Apologies for the interruption
  2. Pardon the intrusion
  3. Apologies for the unsolicited email
  4. Sorry for the unexpected email
  5. Sorry for the unscheduled email
  6. Apologies if this comes out of the blue
  7. Excuse the disturbance
  8. I hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time
  9. Hope I’m not interrupting
  10. Hope this isn’t a bad time
  11. Sorry if I’m catching you at a bad time
  12. My apologies for the sudden contact

1. Apologies for the interruption

This alternative is a polite and formal way to acknowledge that you might be interrupting the recipient’s workflow. It’s slightly more formal than “sorry to bother you” and directly addresses the interruption.

This phrase is well-suited for professional settings where you need to interject with a request or information but want to show respect for the other person’s time. It’s ideal for emails to colleagues, clients, or any recipient where maintaining a professional tone is important. This alternative works best in written communications like emails or formal letters.

Here’s a sample email:

Hello Liam,

Apologies for the interruption, but could you please confirm your attendance at Thursday's meeting?

Best regards,

2. Pardon the intrusion

This phrase is slightly more formal and traditional. It suggests a higher level of politeness and is a good formal synonym for “sorry to bother you.” It’s especially appropriate when you’re initiating contact without prior notice.

Use this alternative in situations where you’re reaching out to someone for the first time or when you’re interrupting an ongoing process. It’s ideal for emails to new clients, senior management, or external partners. “Pardon the intrusion” is perfect for both emails and formal letters where a respectful tone is crucial.

Here’s an example:

Hello Dr. Reynolds,

Pardon the intrusion, I'm writing to inquire about your availability for a consultation next week.

Kind regards,

3. Apologies for the unsolicited email

This alternative is straightforward and acknowledges that the recipient did not ask for the email. It’s particularly polite and professional, suitable for when you’re reaching out to someone without prior interaction.

This phrase is best used when sending emails to potential clients, partners, or anyone who might not be expecting your message. It shows awareness of the recipient’s possible surprise at the contact and is most effective in email communication, where unexpected messages are common.

Here is a sample message:

Dear Mr. Patel,

Apologies for the unsolicited email, but I wanted to introduce our new product line that may interest you.

Warm regards,

4. Sorry for the unexpected email

This synonym is informal yet polite, conveying a casual tone while still showing consideration for the recipient’s possible reaction to an unexpected message. It’s less formal than “apologies for the unsolicited email” but carries a similar meaning.

It’s particularly suitable for less formal email exchanges, perhaps with colleagues you have a friendly relationship with or when you’re reaching out to acquaintances in a professional context. This alternative is great for emails where you want to maintain a friendly yet respectful tone.


Hey Jordan,

Sorry for the unexpected email, but could you send me the link to the document we discussed yesterday?


5. Sorry for the unscheduled email

This phrase is a polite and informal alternative, ideal for when you’re sending a message without prior warning. It implies that there wasn’t a planned or agreed-upon time for your communication, making it suitable for more relaxed professional environments.

This alternative is better suited for internal communications with colleagues or when you’re reaching out to a familiar contact in a business context. It’s especially fitting for email, where you want to acknowledge the spontaneity of your message without being too formal.


Hi Ella,

Sorry for the unscheduled email, but do you have a moment to look over this draft?


6. Apologies if this comes out of the blue

This option is quite informal and conveys a friendly tone. It’s a light-hearted way to acknowledge that your message is unexpected. This phrase is a great synonym for “sorry to bother you” when you want to keep the conversation casual yet polite.

It’s most appropriate for messages to colleagues or contacts with whom you have an established relationship. This alternative shines in emails or messages where a sudden topic or request needs to be introduced without seeming too abrupt.

Email example:

Hey Megan,

Apologies if this comes out of the blue, but can you share your thoughts on the proposal?


7. Excuse the disturbance

This phrase is a courteous and somewhat formal way to start your message, indicating that you’re aware you might be disrupting the recipient’s day. It’s a respectful synonym for “sorry to bother you,” offering a slightly more apologetic tone.

Use this alternative in professional settings where you need to interrupt or request immediate attention. It works well in both emails and direct messages, particularly with recipients like clients or superiors, where showing deference is important.

Here’s an example:

Dear Professor Smith,

Excuse the disturbance, but I have a question about the assignment due date.


8. I hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time

This phrase is polite and a bit more informal. It’s like saying “Sorry to bother you” but with a focus on the timing of your message. It suggests you’re considerate about the recipient’s schedule and current situation.

It fits best in emails to colleagues or contacts you have a friendly relationship with, especially when you’re not sure if it’s a good time for them. This alternative is perfect for messages that require a prompt response or when you’re initiating a conversation that might lead to a longer discussion.


Hello Casey,

I hope I haven't caught you at a bad time, but could we discuss the project updates briefly?


9. Hope I’m not interrupting

This synonym is informal and very polite. It shows you’re trying to be respectful of the other person’s time and activities. It’s lighter and less formal than some of the other alternatives.

This phrase works well in less formal email exchanges or when messaging colleagues with whom you’re on good terms. It’s suitable for quick questions or check-ins via email or chat, especially in a casual work environment or with peers you interact with regularly.


Hi Alex,

Hope I'm not interrupting, but do you have the latest sales figures?


10. Hope this isn’t a bad time

This alternative is informal and shows a friendly level of consideration for the recipient’s time. It’s a gentle way of starting a conversation by acknowledging that you’re mindful of their possible busy schedule.

It’s most suitable for informal communications with colleagues or when you’re sending an email to someone you have a somewhat personal relationship with. This phrase is great for emails, instant messages, or even texts when you want to check in or ask for something quickly without being too formal.


Hey Sofia,

Hope this isn't a bad time, but could you review my report before I submit it?


11. Sorry if I’m catching you at a bad time

This phrase is very polite and somewhat informal, directly addressing the possibility that your timing might not be ideal. It’s a thoughtful way to introduce your request or question, showing you value the recipient’s time and commitments.

Great for emails to coworkers or acquaintances where you need a favor or have a question that requires immediate attention. It’s respectful and considerate, making it a good choice for both emails and instant messaging within professional contexts.


Hi Oliver,

Sorry if I'm catching you at a bad time, but can we talk about the budget adjustments today?

Looking forward to your reply,

12. My apologies for the sudden contact

This alternative is formal and polite, making it clear that you’re reaching out without prior warning. It’s an excellent way to show respect, especially when contacting someone for the first time or after a long period.

Use this phrase when you need to contact someone out of the blue, such as a potential client, a senior executive, or a contact you haven’t spoken to in a while. It sets a respectful tone for your email or letter, indicating that you understand the value of their time and attention.


Dear Ms. Bennett,

My apologies for the sudden contact, but I was hoping to get your insight on our upcoming project proposal.

Best wishes,

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right way to say “sorry to bother you” in an email shows that you care about being polite and considerate. The 12 alternatives we’ve shared can help make your emails sound more professional, friendly, or formal, depending on the situation. By using these different phrases, you can keep your emails interesting and show respect for the recipient’s time.

Similar Posts