It’s certainly not helpful to give someone late notice before changing plans or asking for a big favor. But sometimes, things change, and we can’t avoid it.
“Sorry for the short notice” might seem like a good phrase in business emails, but is it really the best alternative?
This article has compiled a list of synonyms to give you another way to say “sorry for the short notice.”
- I’m so sorry to leave it until the last minute
- I’m sorry that I have to burden you
- Please forgive me for leaving it so late
- I’m sorry for the late notice
- I understand if you can’t do it, but
- Forgive me for leaving this until the last minute
- I’m very sorry that this is on short notice
- I know it’s short notice, but
- I know I haven’t given you a lot of time to prepare, but
- Forgive me for the last-minute request
Keep reading to learn how to say “sorry for the short notice” in a business email. It’s never easy making a last-minute request, but these alternatives will make it slightly more acceptable.
1. I’m So Sorry to Leave It Until the Last Minute
Knowing how to apologize for a short-notice change is easy with this synonym. You can be polite with “I’m so sorry to leave it until the last minute” when you have to change plans, even if you didn’t intend to.
Life can be tricky. Things are always coming up at the last minute to completely ruin our plans. That’s why a phrase like this is a good way to sound apologetic and professional when letting someone down.
Check out the following example to see how to use it:
I’m so sorry to leave it until the last minute, but I’m going to have to reschedule our meeting.
Sorry for any inconvenience caused,
2. I’m Sorry That I Have to Burden You
Asking someone to change plans or help you at short notice is often a “burden” on them. Therefore, you should apologize if you create such a burden.
We recommend using “I’m sorry that I have to burden you” to show regret and respect toward the recipient. It’s a great way to let them know that you wish it didn’t have to be this way, but you can’t think of any way to do something other than give short notice.
You can also refer to this example to help you:
I’m sorry that I have to burden you with this. I really need help completing this project before the deadline, though.
All the best,
3. Please Forgive Me for Leaving It So Late
You never know when you might have to leave something until the last minute. So, say “please forgive me for leaving it so late” when you’re forced to do so. It’s a polite and respectful way to regret asking for help at the last minute.
We recommend using this one when asking someone for help. It shows you wish you didn’t have to do so, but you have no other option. For instance, you can use it when emailing colleagues to help you complete an assignment because the deadline is due ASAP.
Perhaps this example will help you if you’re still uncertain:
Please forgive me for leaving it so late, but could you help me with the assignment? I appreciate that you might be too busy.
4. I’m Sorry for the Late Notice
A simple apology always goes a long way. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the original formula. So, start with “I’m sorry” to sound professional and sincere.
From there, you can say “I’m sorry for the late notice.” It’s simple enough, and it works well in most professional emails to show that you apologize for giving someone no time to react to a change you’ve had to make.
Here’s a sample email to show you more about it:
I’m sorry for the late notice. Is there any way I can ask you to come and help me with the system changeover?
5. I Understand if You Can’t Do It, But
You might also want to use “I understand you if you can’t do it, but.” It’s a very respectful way to start a sentence. After all, it shows you appreciate that someone might be too busy to help you. However, it’s still worth asking, just in case.
Generally, this phrase works best when emailing colleagues. It shows you would appreciate their help with something, especially if a deadline is coming up and you need them to lend a hand.
Why not check out the following example to see how it works:
I understand if you can’t do it, but I could really use your help completing the assignment. I’m sorry it’s late notice!
All the best,
6. Forgive Me for Leaving This Until the Last Minute
We recommend using “forgive me for leaving this until the last minute” in more formal settings. It’s a great one because it begs for forgiveness (similar to saying “I’m sorry”) without sounding too casual.
We recommend it when emailing clients who you don’t want to let down. It shows you are very sorry that you’ve had to change or cancel plans, but you could not find another way around the situation.
This sample email should also help you understand it better:
Forgive me for leaving this until the last minute, but I need to reschedule the event. Does Monday work?
All the best,
7. I’m Very Sorry That This Is on Short Notice
Why not try “I’m very sorry that this is on short notice” instead of “sorry for the short notice”? It changes just enough about the original phrase to make it really useful in most business emails.
You can use it in many professional situations. The apology (“I’m very sorry”) sounds sincere and allows you to sympathize with the recipient, regardless of your connection to them.
Here’s a useful email sample to help you understand it:
I’m very sorry that this is on short notice, but I need your help. Do you have anything else to do right now?
Thank you so much,
8. I Know It’s Short Notice, But
Sometimes, “sorry” doesn’t do the trick. It might sound repetitive or forced. So, to counter this, you could write “I know it’s short notice, but.” That way, you don’t have to say “sorry,” but it’s still a respectful way to ask for a last-minute request.
You can use this one in most emails when asking colleagues for help. It shows you need them to step up, even if they’re already busy doing something.
It’s a risky one to use, though. You should only use it when you already have a good working relationship with your colleague.
Check out the following email example to see how it works:
I know it’s short notice, but can I trouble you for some assistance? We need to hand the project in by 5 pm tonight.
9. I Know I Haven’t Given You a Lot of Time to Prepare, But
You can always clarify the situation by starting your apology with, “I know I haven’t given you a lot of time to prepare.” It shows you regret having to give someone such short notice.
However, sometimes, there’s no avoiding these things. So, you might have to let someone know they need to prepare to help you ASAP.
It’s polite and professional. We recommend using this when you don’t want to stick with an overused phrase like “sorry for the short notice.”
If you’re still unsure, you can refer to this example:
I know I haven’t given you a lot of time to prepare, but can you complete the project on time?
Thank you very much,
10. Forgive Me for the Last-Minute Request
It’s always better to ask for forgiveness early when seeking help. You may want to try “forgive me for the last-minute request” when you know you have to burden someone or interrupt their busy work schedule.
We highly recommend this when emailing colleagues. It shows you appreciate they are busy, but you could really use some help.
You can also refer to this example to see how it works:
Forgive me for the last-minute request, but I don’t know who else to ask. I know you can help me if you’re not too busy.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.