A sorry bunch of Canadians

You may have noticed that we tend to apologize a lot in Canada.

Much to my benefit, this has led to Canadians being viewed as very kind and polite, all around the world.

As a proud Canuck, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

canada maple leaf with "sorry" printed on itYou see, "sorry" in Canada may not always mean what you think it does.

Imagine the following: You're visiting Canada and shopping for groceries in the local store. A woman ahead is blocking an entire aisle with her shopping cart.

Another woman walks towards her, stops, looks at the cart and says, "Oh, I'm sorry."

The first woman realizes she is in the way, and replies, "Oh, I'm so sorry," as she moves the cart. The both smile at one another and continue shopping.

You think to yourself, "Wow, what a kind and decent society. These Canadians are so polite!"

Now, the secret translation: "Oh, I'm sorry," actually means, "Oh, I'm sorry that you're blocking the entire aisle with your cart and didn't even notice that people are trying to get by."

And then "Oh, I'm so sorry," really means, "Oh, I'm so sorry that you're in such a ridiculous hurry that you can't just wait a few seconds while I get a jar of maple syrup."

So they next time a Canadian apologizes to you, keep in mind that there might be a bit of unspoken subtext there* :)

*Note: This applies to the UK too, although they tend to make it a bit more obvious what their "sorry" really means.

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