Why do Germans think "Es tut mir leid" and "Entschuldigung" are the equivalent of "I'm sorry"?

They really aren't. Entschuldigung is pretty much the same as our "excuse me". The sort of thing that equals our excuse me. It means I made a minor blunder nothing much but pardon me. Es tut mir leid, Germans will claim is the same but really is a quite different concept. It means "It... show more They really aren't. Entschuldigung is pretty much the same as our "excuse me". The sort of thing that equals our excuse me. It means I made a minor blunder nothing much but pardon me.

Es tut mir leid, Germans will claim is the same but really is a quite different concept. It means "It gives me sorrow." The action and subjuct fall on IT and not I. It does not say I made a mistake that I am sorry for. For example, it gives me sorrow that children starve in Africa but I feel no blame for it. I've even had Germans get on my case arguing the point because they don't understand the difference. My wife is German and lives here and totally sees the conceptual difference. In English, the phrase puts the onus on the speaker. In German the blame falls on some nebulous "it".
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