Ready to find out all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic sentence “Je suis en retard”?
Including a detailed explanation of what it is and how to use it in a conversation with an audio example. Together with the useful stuff we added like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!
The literal meaning is:
Whenever French people are running late for something, you will hear them saying “Je suis en retard !” (I’m late!). It’s the simplest way to express the idea of “being late” in French and a basic sentence that you should know, unless you are always on time!
It has a neutral register, so you can use it in every situation. Let’s see some examples…
You are running late for an appointment, a meeting, etc. and someone asks you something. You can’t do it right now, so you say: “Je suis en retard” (I’m late). This implies that you have an excuse for not answering this person right now.
For more complete sentences, you can say: “Je ne peux pas, je suis en retard” (I can’t, I’m late) or “Plus tard, je suis en retard” (Later, I’m late) or even “Pas maintenant, je suis en retard” (Not now, I’m late).
Another scenario: you arrive at your meeting and you are 20 minutes late… the first thing you should do (after “Bonjour“) is to apologize for being late.
And for that you say: “Désolé, je suis en retard” (Sorry, I’m late) or “Désolé pour le retard” (Sorry for the delay). Because people will probably be upset if you don’t mention any kind of apologies. Furthermore, it’s an occasion to explain right after why you have been late. (Or at least invent a possible explanation…)