English as a Second Language/is vs was

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Question
Dear Mr Cole,

I copied the following information from the following website:

http://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/fl-apologizing.htm
Apologizing

This page lists useful phrases for the language function of apologizing.

Elementary

I'm sorry..

Pre-Intermediate

..is/was my fault
It's unforgivable, I know

I am wondering if the following sentences using "is" are incorrect.

1. I'm sorry it is my fault.(incorrect)
2. It is unforgivable, I know. (incorrect)

I think "I'm sorry it was my fault." is correct.

In what circumstances should we use " ...is my fault" as shown in above? Would appreciate if you can give me some examples.

Thanks.

Answer
In general, we would use "is my fault" about a situation that is happening in the present time.

Let me give you a comparison:

"Dr. Smith did not like the presentation."
"I am sorry; it was my fault."

vs.

"There is water pouring out of the pipes in the bathroom!"
"I am sorry; it is my fault."

"It's cold in here!"
"I'm sorry; it's my fault.  I forgot to turn on the heat this morning."

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole

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I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.

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I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

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Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

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