Het spijt mij, says the Dutchman. Es tut mir leid, says the German. Aren’t they quaint, these teutons? Such archaic constructions, the inanimate doing stuff to passive old you, rather than the straightforward activity of the I’m sorry uttered by no-nonsense English speakers.
Be a man – take responsibility, don’t blame an unspecified – possibly inhuman – external agent. It bothers me that …
Hmm. OK, “I am bothered” then. But that’s not the same, is it? ‘Bothered’ remains a past participle – unlike ‘sorry’, which isn’t any kind of participle – and so still hints at an external agency having done the bothering to me. Same with annoyed, miffed, etc. And even perplexed. They’re all past participles of verbs, pointing fingers away from us. What’s going on here? What’s so special about being sorry, and how did it get there?
Is it meet it boots me wonder? (Not to go all medieval on your ass or anything).