Every so often, a public figure makes an apology. The most recent example is Rick Warren’s apology about a Facebook photo. Usually, a public apology sounds like this: If you were hurt, upset, offended, or distressed by my insensitivity I am truly sorry.

The word that bugs me is “if”. It almost puts the onus on the person offended. “If you were offended”, to me, translates “since you have a problem with this (but others don’t) and to appease you, I’ll offer this apology”. If someone is truly sorry, would they add “if”? I would think a straight “I apology for offending people with that remark” suggests the offending person actually does take ownership of their remarks. Otherwise, is the person truly sorry?