Translation:I am sorry.
Yes, the なさい is there just to make the phrase more formal. It should be noted that ごめん[なさい] is pretty never used in written correspondence or in business settings. 申し訳ありません (moshiwakearimasen) is used, a very formal phrase.
ごめん can also be distinguished from すみません in that すみません is more formal than ごめん , so only use ごめん with friends and family.
In short, if these were ranked in terms of politeness, from most formal to least:
申し訳ありません/もうしわけありません (use for business) すみません (use with strangers and in public generally) ごめんなさい (use with friends and family) ごめん (use with friends and family, most likely just friends and siblings)
Just to add my two cents to that, an even more polite version of 申し訳ありません which is very common in written correspondence is 大変申し訳ございません (taihen moushiwake gozaimasen).
Also, すみません is also often pronounced すいません, which makes it slightly more informal.
The Inuits have a thousand words for snow.
The Japanese have a thousand ways of apologizing.
It is a myth that they have a thousand words for snow. They don't have significantly more words for snow than we do. (It's also a myth that English just has the one word "snow".) But their grammar works differently than our does, so there are ways to incorporate their basic words for snow into bigger words.
No analogy is perfect, but it's kind of like saying that "snow", "snows", and "snowing" are all different words when really they're all forms of the same word.
We have different ways to talk about snow in English as well.
In English, you could say snow, snows, white fluffy stuff falling from the sky when it's cold, frozen water, little tiny ice crystals that have never had an exact replica of it in the world ever, gentle little white things that have the potential to be extremely destructive, etc.
Wow I never really thought about all of the synonyms that you could make for "snow"... :0
Depends who you ask. Sticklers will say that the only "proper" one is すみません, but personally, I think both are essentially the same.
You can get much more rough with your apologies, so I definitely wouldn't call すいません a "slang word". Examples you should NOT use unless you know what you're doing: すまない, すまん, わるかった, わるい
I've heard all of those at one point or another in tv shows and movies. Is there a guide to when those are appropriate?
If they were being said by Japanese people in Japanese TV shows (and it didn't seem like they were being used cynically or ironically), then that's probably the best guide you'll find. Just take note of what sort of personality the person has, how the other people reacted to it, and what situation it's being used in.
Otherwise, I (not a native Japanese speaker) would roughly describe them as follows:
- すまない cheeky/not genuine, more likely to be used by young men
- すまん gruff/begrudging, more likely to be used by older men
- わるかった/わるい casual/light, more likely to be used by (school-aged and college) students
However, I definitely don't feel versed enough to properly describe when each phrase might be "appropriate".
Someone from japan explained to me that it is a colloquial version of the word
adding taihen did not make it the more polite version, rather it just add feelings like emphasizing how very very very sorry you are. suimasen is not informal rather its a variation of sumimasen that has changed throughout time, sumimasen is sumimasen, suimasen is suimasen, both are in masu form so both are still formal.
It doesn't, but 申し訳
ございません is more polite than 申し訳
I also said that すいません is "slightly more informal" than すみません, not that it's completely informal. すいません is a variation, but it's a non-standard variation which is a result of people being more relaxed (read: less formal) with their pronunciation.
It was explained to me that sumimasen is more for instances where it is appropriate to say "excuse me" and gomennasai is used when you want to say "i am deeply sorry"
This is how i learned these words
I was taught that "gomen" is an apology and "sumimasen" is more along the lines of "excuse me". Like, if I step on your foot it's "gomen" but if I just want your attention it's "sumimasen".
As per various sources (japanesepod101, etc.), in the context of apologies, sumimasen is actually the more 'formal' phrase although it also has a ton of other uses like excuse me, thanks, sorry for to bother you, etc. Gomenasai/gomen for apologizing to people you're familiar with, like saying sorry i'm late to a friend. Moushiwake arimasen for formal business/clients.
Moshi wake arimasen is "there is no excuse/reason", sumimasen is "it is inexcusable", gomen nasai is "please forgive me" with the nasai being an honorific form of desu and with an imperative (request/order) nuance. The English doesn't convey the nuances of formality very well, which the poster above explains well.
"Moushiwakearimasen" is a formal apology, while "shitsureishimasu" is more like "excuse me" (it literally means "I'm committing an act of rudeness). It's often used when entering someone's office (excuse me, I'm coming in). "お先にしつれいします" (osaki ni shitsurei shimasu) is used when you leave work (I'm committing the act of rudeness of leaving before you).
What is the use of "nasai" part here as "gomen" means "sorry". Is it just a more formal way of saying "sorry" ?
What do I say when I accidentally hit someone (let's say a stranger)? Gomenasai or sumimasen?
I'm just confused on what to say when you want to apologize sincerely to a stranger.
Theoretically, either will work, but to me (not a native speaker), ごめんなさい sounds more apologetic.
You might say すみません if you lightly bump into someone on your way out of the subway, for example. But if you step on their toe with chunky boots on, it might be better to say ごめんなさい, several times f(^_^;
When I was in Japan, I heard ごめんなさい a lot. Like this toddler bumps into me, the mother utters ごめんなさい.
"Gomenasai" is not really used by adults,as it sounds childish since this is what children say to their parents when they do something wrong. When talking to a stranger, such as a cashier or waiter/waitress, you would say, "sumimasen". If talking to your friends or family, you would say, "gomen". (I found this out from a native Japanese speaker)
This is possibly a regional or generational viewpoint, and feels like an oversimplification to me. When I lived Japan, I commonly heard adults saying ごめんなさい to strangers at train stations or department stores, etc. It may be a phrase that children use, but it by no means sounds childish (of course, it depends on your tone, but the phrase isn't inherently childish)
When it comes to talking to strangers, choosing ごめんなさい vs すみません comes down to the situation you're in. To use your waiter/waitress scenario, you would use すみません if they're cleaning the table next to you and you want to ask for some water, but when you accidentally knock the tray of glasses out of their hands in your eagerness for water, it's more appropriate to say ごめんなさい.
(I figured this out for myself by observing countless native Japanese speakers over two years. Edit: it sounds kind of creepy when I say it like that... I meant the two years I spent in Japan gave me many opportunities to interact with and witness the interactions of native Japanese speakers.)
Is this a verb, an adjective, a noun, or what?. That it is translated as "I am sorry" means nothing, the spanish word for this is "perdón" and it's simply a noun
Indeed. The Spanish noun "perdón" is much like the noun "pardon" as in "I beg your pardon".
In Japanese, "gomen" is a verb that mean "to forgive" or "to pardon". ごめんなさい is literally "forgive me" or "pardon me".
Actually, ごめん (御免) by itself is a noun too, much like "pardon" or "perdón", which literally means "your pardon/your permission".
The phrase ごめんなさい is literally a firm, yet polite command. Nowadays it longer carries that curtness, but it uses the verb form しなさい which is typically now used by parents or teachers to reprimand their children/students.
But you'd be more likely to use ごめん (gomen, or gomen ne) with your peers, wouldn't you?
go me na sai.
"Goh (oh) (I) mean uh s(orry) I.."
( Goh! or Oh!, similar to Doh! from Homer Simpson from The Simpson's cartoon)
SORRY, I'm Sorry.
I lived in Japan for nearly two years and don't remember using (or hearing) this ever. Whereas I used sumimasen every single day and when I was flying home from Japan and half asleep I accidentally elbowed the Japanese woman next to me and sumimasen popped out of my mouth as naturally as breathing.
Why isn't "Sorry for the mistake" accepted? That's what it really means right?
The fine print: many other comments on this very page have addressed this question already. Please read them (preferably before commenting, next time).
Is the sentence another way of saying 'sorry' in Japanese besides 'sumimasen' (すみません). Or if it isn't, please help me understand about the difference between ごめんなさい and すみません. Thanks! どうも ありがとうございます！
"Gomennasai" is strictly an apology.
"Sumimasen" can be an apology, but it is also used as "excuse me", such as for getting someone's attention.
Other comments on this page also discuss this.
Why is there a circle at the end of the sentences? It's a circle, right?
Depends on the context you're writing in. It's not exactly wrong, but it's like writing "i'M sOrrY"; people think you're weird. If you had written ゴメンナサイ, perhaps it's a little less weird, but now you're overdoing the apology f(^_^;
Also, it's ごめ
んなさい, not ごめなさい.
It's not a word-for-word calque. The literal Japanese is closer to just "apologies".