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When the word "excuse" is used as a noun, it refers to a reason for behavior or a lack of action. Notice that the "s" in this word is unvoiced.

  • He made an excuse for his behavior.
  • If you’re absent from class, you should bring an excuse to the teacher.
  • Do you have an excuse?
  • There’s really no excuse for doing that to another person.
  • Marta’s supervisor asked her for an excuse regarding the rude way in which she spoke to a customer, but she had no excuse.
  • That’s a very poor excuse.
  • He’s a poor excuse for a human being.
  • Excuses, excuses! (Said in response to a person who is always making excuses for something.)

When the word "excuse" is used as a verb, it’s the action of providing a reason for something, usually misbehavior or an accident. Notice that the "s" in this word is a voiced "z" sound.

  • Excuse me. I’m sorry.
  • Please excuse me.
  • The man asked his wife to excuse his behavior.
  • There’s no excusing that sort of behavior.
  • Excuse us, please. We have to get through. (Said when trying to get though a crowded area.)
  • Excuse our mess. We haven’t had a chance to clean up lately.
  • May I be excused? (Said by polite children who ask their parents for permission to leave the table after eating a meal.)

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This page was published on April 5, 2017.