"I am sorry if I hurt you."

Is there a normal condition-result relationship in the above sentence ?

A person knows whether he is sorry or not. How can it depend on something he does not know ?
The condition is whether the other person is hurt, not whether the speaker is sorry.
Debpriya DeI am sorry if I hurt you. ... A person knows whether he is sorry or not. How can it depend on something he does not know ?
All if-clauses contain the idea of a dependence on something unknown. Otherwise we wouldn't preface them with "if". In any case, there isn't be much point in being sorry if it turns out that there is nothing to be sorry about, is there?

If it is already known that the other person has been hurt, it seems more appropriate to say I am sorry that I hurt you. Nevertheless, the version with if is often used in that context as well, and it means, in effect, the same as the version with that. People don't usually analyze the fine points of grammar or logic before uttering formulaic phrases like this.

CJ
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But being sorry is something which we are aware of, just like a headache or a stomach ache.

We don't go to a doctor and say "I have a headache if there is something wrong with me". Because we don't know if there is something wrong with us, but we know for sure that we have a headache.

So how can a person say "I am sorry if I hurt you", because at the time of saying this he is either sorry or he is not ?
Debpriya DeI have a headache if there is something wrong with me
I don't see this as the analogous case. I think

I'd like the appropriate medication if there is something wrong with me

( or, from the doctor's viewpoint,

I'm willing to prescribe the appropriate medication if there is something wrong with you )

is more like

I am sorry if I hurt you.

I take "I am sorry if ..." as "I offer my apology (if you feel that it is needed)".

Another one that's similiar:

I am willing to help you paint the house if you need help.

There's a fine line between having the feeling and making an offer.

In any case, as I mentioned before, whether it makes sense or not, it's a standard formula for apologizing.

CJ
I think the confusion here is coming from the idea that this sentence sounds like it is expressing an emotion, whereas what it really intends is to offer an apology. The more appropriate way to word such an idea would be "I apologize if I hurt you," but many word it similarly to the sentence you are asking about. I think also that CJ is right in stating that the speaker most often knows that they did hurt the other person, so if expressing sincere emotion the more appropriate wording might be "I am sorry that I hurt you." I honestly don't know why people say "if" when they mean "that," but it does happen frequently.

I hope this doesn't add to the confusion :-)

-S
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