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  5. "ごめんなさい。"

"ごめんなさい。"

Translation:I am sorry.

June 12, 2017

74 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeremy.joh3

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)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

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.


[deactivated user]

    The Inuits have a thousand words for snow.

    The Japanese have a thousand ways of apologizing.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/romcheek

    There are 50 words for snow in the Inuit


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rianna383003

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DanielJSorensen

    Is the すいません a slang word or is that actually proper Japanese?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris753291

    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?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kairu260485

    Someone from japan explained to me that it is a colloquial version of the word


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rianna383003

    What does colloquial mean?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    Informal; common.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NyxUlric

    I'm sorry

    Polite expression of "sorry"

    I'm disappointed, my feelings aren't clear

    "Sorry," is a word that has the negative form of "nu = no" in "do it."

    This includes apologies and remorse when saying "I have done this and my heart does not feel good" when I am sorry or annoyed by the other person.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Eipuriru_

    Nope, sumimasen is usually used for "excuse me", while gomennai / gomennasai is used for "I am deeply sorry".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kairu260485

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/akoakini

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    It doesn't, but 申し訳ございません is more polite than 申し訳ありません.

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    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".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HanaNic14

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hlne207723

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HoroTanuki

    so what's the difference between もうしわけありません and しつれいします?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

    "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).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    The first is an apology. The second is closer to "excuse me".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannaha70093

    "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)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaapel

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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(^_^;


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andi_kan

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/XeNO-19

    Well sumimasen would be excuse me and gomena you would say informally to a friend and gomenasai you sould say to the stranger you just hit. Good luck!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    ごめん, not ごめな.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Frigorifico9

    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


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    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".

    https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/18776/how-is-gomen-used


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pari52965

    What does that little circle there represent?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

    「。」is the Japanese period/full stop [ . ]
    Duo doesn't grade most punctuation so it is fine to omit it in your answers


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/_Eipuriru_

    it's the dot. (.)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JKurono

    Was told by professor that children use gomenasai, to use すみません instead.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

    But you'd be more likely to use ごめん (gomen, or gomen ne) with your peers, wouldn't you? すみません often sounds too stiff to use with your friends, even as an adult.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/geekns

    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sadie187064

    What does negai mean?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    ねがい is "please".

    ごめんなさい is the polite form of "sorry". The familiar form is just ごめん.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Actually, 願い【ねがい】just means "wish, desire, request". The phrase お願いします is commonly translated as "please", but that's actually because of the humble conjugation of 願う【ねがう】, the verb "to wish, to desire, to request".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Boxcarblinkava

    Am i better off just trying to memorize these phrases or should I try my best to understand the gramatical aspect of it? Its very hard to wrap my head around how some of these phrases are steuctured.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Yes, I'd definitely recommend just memorizing these for now. Duolingo doesn't do a great job of explaining grammar in the first place, and these greeting-type phrases often have weird and/or exceptional grammatical rules, which are also commonly historical rules and no longer apply to most of the other Japanese words you might learn.

    Plus, even if you understood the grammar, that doesn't necessarily mean you automatically understand the usage, which is easily the more important of the two. While you're not going to get perfect English equivalents of many of these phrases, (and Duolingo doesn't do a very good job of giving you context for inferred usage), it's better than nothing and better than beating yourself up about not understanding something that even native speakers probably don't care much about.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Side note: if it is something that interests you, I'd definitely recommend coming back to it once you've progressed further in your studies. There's a lot of interesting things you can learn about Japanese history and culture from these phrases ;)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ummehani292460

    Is it "i am sorry" or only "sorry". I am confused. Please help..thanks


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

    Japanese and English are a little different, so I think either translation is possible, but I would say that ごめんなさい (polite) is better translated as "I'm sorry" (polite) and ごめん (informal) is better translated as just "sorry" (informal).


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChipiLikesCoffee

    Okay nice! I typed "i am sprry" and didn't notice, i only realized the moment i hit the button. I thought that they'd mark it as incorrect, but i was surprised they still said it was correct and they told me i had a typo and pointed it out and corrected me.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChipiLikesCoffee

    I just posted three same comments with some changes. It was not working properly and threw me errors and my comments weren't showing. So i tried commenting again and again. Then suddenly, it started working properly again, and when i checked, the comments i tried posting were there...all of them -_-

    I tried to delete coz i dont want to spam but there's no delete button. So i am sorry for this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SherylHohman

    ごめんなさい
    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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/01PolOp1OI1Pp01

    Why isn't "Sorry for the mistake" accepted? That's what it really means right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    It's a lot closer to simply "apologies".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/miao-kun

    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!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    "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.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/miao-kun

    Thanks for your explaination!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeorgeCuad4

    Why is there a circle at the end of the sentences? It's a circle, right?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    Because that's what a period/full stop looks like in Japanese.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AhmedKhale789989

    So if I wrote ごめなさい like this ごメなさい is it wrong or incorrect?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    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 ごめなさい, not ごめなさい.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cole417337

    is "ごめんなさい. used in a normal bump into someone on the street setting or is ごめん used. an if neither when do you use both?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

    ごめん is more casual than ごめんなさい, so it should only be used with people you're close to. I would use すみません with strangers. JapanesePod101 has an article called "SUMIMASEN or GOMEN NASAI?" if you want to read more: https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson/absolute-beginner-questions-answered-by-hiroko-10-sumimasen-or-gomen-nasai/?lp=173


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Interesting. I'm not a native speaker, but I think this lesson is oversimplifying it a bit, or there's a difference in usage in different regions of Japan. From my understanding, there's an issue of formality, which the lesson deals with, but there's also the issue of severity. (Full disclosure: I only read the transcript, because I didn't sign up to be able to watch the video)

    The example she gave about apologizing to the waiter actually almost seems rude to me because すみません can also be a way to get someone's attention. ごめんなさい is generally used for more serious grievances, so breaking someone else's things and creating extra work for someone is probably a situation that warrants an unambiguous apology. To me, saying すみません in this situation sounds like "excuse me, are you going to get around to cleaning this up?"

    To answer OP's question, assuming that the person you bump into is a complete stranger, I would agree with @IsolaCiao and say that ごめん is not the right word to use, but whether you use すみません or ごめんなさい depends how hard you hit them. If you just nudged them lightly, then I would use すみません, but if you caused them to fall down or spill a hot drink on themselves, I would go with ごめんなさい. Again, I'm not a native speaker and I learned practically all of my Japanese in Hokkaido, so the way they do things up north may be different from what's done in Tokyo.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

    You had me with "there's a difference in usage in different regions of Japan", and then lost me at "I learned practically all of my Japanese in Hokkaido" because I'm a Hokkaido girl through and through and I feel the same as the JapanPod101 article ;) I wouldn't say ごめんなさい to waiter unless I knew them / frequented the restaurant often. It feels too familiar for me to say it to a stranger. I can imagine that in somewhere like Osaka people would be more likely to use ごめんなさい even with strangers because their culture tends to be more open and friendly. Gender and age might also play a role.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoshuaLore9

    Curiouser and curiouser! Perhaps my being an Australian affects what that I notice and internalize about my interactions with Japanese people... I feel like relative age would definitely factor into it, but now I'm not sure what to think @_@"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mohamed_Hassan96

    What is i and am mean from the japanese sentence ?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
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    It's not a word-for-word calque. The literal Japanese is closer to just "apologies".

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