Japanese Greetings and Phrases
|In this first guide, we will go over some very basic Japanese greetings and phrases. You can start using these right away and Japanese people will be very impressed. Study these daily!|
|ohayou gozaimasu||“Ohayou” is functional as a morning greeting all by itself. We add “gozaimasu” to make it polite. Also, notice the whispered “su” at the end. Sometimes you don’t even hear it!|
|konnichiwa||That double “n” should be held twice as long as a regular “n”. Listen closely!|
|konbanwa||Generally used after 5pm.|
|oyasuminasai||“Oyasumi” is fine too. “Nasai” just adds politeness. Any time you want to sound more casual, you can eliminate it completely!|
|sayounara||This is more common among neighbors. It’s also common for a student to say this to their teacher.|
doumo arigatou gozaimasu
(Thank you very much.)
|doumo-arigatou-gozaimasu||This can be cut down to “arigatou gozaimasu” for “thank you”. Trimming it down even further to “arigatou” is fine for casual conversation.|
|dou-itashimashite||This is pretty much identical to the English version. Simply use it as a response to arigatou gozaimasu.|
(Nice to meet you.)
|hajimemashite||This should only be used the first time you meet someone, since this literally comes from the word hajimete (“first time”).|
(Nice to meet you and thank you in advance for your kindness.)
|douzo yoroshiku||This is a great example of a phrase that is nearly impossible to translate directly to English. We did our best, but the true meaning is only learned through repeated use in different situations.|
O-namae wa nan desu ka?
(What is your name?)
|O-namae wa nan desu ka?||That “O” at the beginning is very important when you are asking someone’s name! If you drop it, you will sound quite rude. We call the “O” an honorific prefix, and you will see it again through the lessons.|
O-genki desu ka
(How are you?)
|O-genki desu ka||This isn’t used as often as the English version. Among Japanese people it’s actually not common at all to ask someone how they are doing. Think of it as a translated English phrase that we can’t seem to let go of. That’s our culture!|
(I am well.)
|genki desu||You should never use the honorific “O” from our last two examples if you are referring to yourself. You will come across as either very cocky, or someone who is still on their first Japanese lesson! 🙂|
|ittekimasu||Literally means “go and come back”. It is usually used when someone is leaving for school/work in the morning.|
(See you when you get back!)
|ohayou gozaimasu||This is the response to “Ittekimasu”. You can think of this as “Have a good day!” or “See you after work”.|
|tadaima||Literally means “right now”, but it is used when someone arrives home.|
|okaerinasai||Literally means “return!”, but it is used as a warm welcoming at the door. Use it as a response to “tadaima”.|
|sumimasen||There is a lot of versatility with this word. We say sumimasen to get someone’s attention, to say sorry, or even as an apologetic form of “thank you”. I’m sorry you went to the trouble of getting me this present – thank you / sumimasen!|
|shitsurei shimasu||This literally means “I will do something rude”. Think of it as an apology in advance, similar to “excuse me”.|
Well, see you later!
|ja-mata|| “Ja” is very similar to “well…”.
“Mata” literally means “again”.
This would be very casual conversation.
|mata ne||Another casual way of saying goodbye. Think of “ne” as a Canadian “eh?”.|
|ja ne||Stripping “mata” away, the meaning stays the same! You will hear this one a lot among friends.|
|Was this guide helpful?|
|Japanese Phrases – Getting to Know Someone|