How to Express Your Deepest Regrets in Spanish
Express your regrets in Spanish and feel relief over that catharsis!
Feeling regret is unpleasant, but acknowledging our mistakes and wanting to take a different direction is a healthy thing to do. It’s what motivates us to do better, take chances, stop missing opportunities, and avoid bad choices.
Living without regrets is unrealistic. We’re only human, and it’s perfectly natural to think about the things we did or didn’t do with uneasiness. Since we cannot change the past, we’d better learn to cope with the consequences of our choices.
Read this article to find how to express your regrets in Spanish, how to spell the correct translations, and how to write complete sentences to express them.
¡No te arrepentirás de leer este artículo!
You won’t regret reading this article!
How Do You Say Regret in Spanish?
In both English and Spanish, “regret” can either be a verb or a noun. In Spanish, you translate it to different words depending on the context and tone you want to use. Let’s look at some translations and applications of the word “regret” in Spanish.
Arrepentir and lamentar are the two most common ways of translating the word “regret” in Spanish. Arrepentir is perfect for when you say you regret doing or not doing something, meaning it was under your control.
Me arrepiento de no haber ido a Cancún.
I regret not going to Cancun.
No te arrepentirás de ver esa película.
You will not regret watching that movie.
Él se arrepintió de no haber comprado el libro cuando pudo.
He regretted not buying the book when he could.
Lamentar is something you regret even though it was completely out of your control. This is the word universities use when they notify you you didn’t get in.
Lamentamos el fallecimiento del autor.
We regret the death of the author.
Lamento notificarle que el vuelo se canceló por el clima.
I regret to notify you that your flight was canceled due to the weather.
Lamentamos informarle que no fue admitido a nuestra Universidad.
We regret to inform you that you were not admitted to our university.
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The definition of apenar is similar to lamentar in some cases, and in other contexts, it means “sorry.” Either way, this word is loaded with sentiments of apology, regret, sadness, and embarrassment.
Me apena informarle que su tarjeta no fue aprobada.
I regret to inform you that your card was not approved.
I am sorry to inform you that your card was not approved.
Le apena no haber ido a la fiesta.
He regrets not going to the party.
He is sorry for not going to the party.
Sentir is similar to apenar. Be careful, as it also means “to feel.” To learn more about apologizing, read Lo Siento: what it really means and how to apologize in Spanish.
Sentimos informarle que no puede entrar al edificio.
We regret to inform you that you cannot enter the building.
We are sorry to inform you that you cannot enter the building.
Sentimos que tu contestación fue innecesaria.
We feel that your response was unnecessary.
The word regret in Spanish is deeply rooted with the word “remorse.”
Me remuerde no haber ido al funeral.
I regret not having gone to the funeral.
Qué remordimiento no haberte ayudado.
I regret not helping you.
No sientas remordimiento por decir la verdad.
Do not regret saying the truth.
Do not feel remorse about telling the truth.
Check out: Respectful ways to offer condolences
This is a quick and general way to express your regrets in Spanish. It also translates to “sorry” depending on the context:
This is what you need to know if you want to express your regrets in Spanish using the haber conditional. The haber conditional is in perfect infinitive or compound tense.
You use the verb haber in its infinitive form and the second verb in its participle form. Follow this formula:
de + haber + participle + conditional perfect
De haber sabido que iba a llegar tarde, me habría levantado más temprano.
Had I known I was going to be late, I would have gotten up earlier.
De haber puesto más atención, habría aprobado el examen.
Had I been paying more attention, I would have passed the exam.
De haber comprado una televisión, habría visto el partido en mi casa.
If I had bought a television, I would have watched the game at home.
See also: Conditional if-then Spanish phrases
In Spanish we use the deber conditional to give advice, but when you use it in the perfect infinitive form, it becomes a way of giving regrets in Spanish.
The formula looks like this:
deber conditional + infinitive perfect
Debería haber sido más estudioso en la escuela.
I should have been more studious in school.
No debería haber comprado ese coche.
I shouldn’t have bought that car.
Deberías haber ido a ver a tu abuela.
You should have gone to see your grandmother.
Preterite of Deber
This is one of the easiest and most common ways to express your regrets in Spanish. The formula is:
deber in preterite form + haber + past participle
Debí haber sido más amable con la señora.
I should have been nicer to the lady.
No debiste haberme gritado.
You shouldn’t have shouted at me.
Usted debió pagar a tiempo la renta.
You should have paid the rent on time.
Imperfect Subjunctive of Haber
This is another of the most common ways to express your regrets in Spanish. The formula is:
haber in imperfect subjunctive + past participle
No hubiera ido a caminar, me llovió de regreso.
I shouldn’t have gone for a walk, it rained on the way back.
Me hubiera gustado ser actriz en lugar de contadora.
I would have liked to be an actress instead of an accountant.
Hubieras trabajado más, así tendrías más dinero.
You should have worked more, you would have more money.
See also: Subjunctive conditional Spanish
No Regrets in Spanish
How do you say no regrets in Spanish? There are many ways of expressing this feeling, but here are some of the most common.
No me arrepiento de nada.
I regret nothing
No siento culpa.
I feel no remorse
Tenía que hacerlo.
I had to do it.
Check out: More Spanish idioms
Idioms About Regret in Spanish
To express this feeling in a more “native” way, use the following Spanish idioms about regret.
El hubiera no existe
The hubiera does not exist. In other words, the imperfect subjunctive of haber does not exist.
It is as if the hubiera is this alternative universe where you did what you didn’t do in reality or vice versa, and it doesn’t exist.
If someone says this idiom to you what they mean is: move forward, don’t get stuck in the alternative past.
Lo bailado nadie te lo quita
The closest translation to this is “nobody can take away what you danced.” Meaning that you had your fun, so don’t regret it now.
Pero las risas no faltaron
This is somewhat similar to the phrase above—but of the digital era. When someone says their regrets in Spanish, you reply, pero las risas no faltaron (but the laughs weren’t missing).
Lo hecho hecho está
This expression of regret in Spanish has a counterpart in English, which is “what’s done is done.”
Hand-picked for you: Expressions using the verb ‘dar’
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