"ごめんなさい。"

Translation:I am sorry.

June 12, 2017

75 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)

June 13, 2017

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.

July 16, 2017

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

The Inuits have a thousand words for snow.

The Japanese have a thousand ways of apologizing.

June 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

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.

June 9, 2018

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

whoosh!

July 18, 2019

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

There are 50 words for snow in the Inuit

July 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033
July 29, 2018

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

June 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Aya476552

Love that ❤️

April 14, 2019

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

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

March 26, 2018

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

April 9, 2018

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?

May 2, 2018

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".

June 3, 2018

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

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

September 4, 2018

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

What does colloquial mean?

June 1, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

Informal; common.

June 1, 2019

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.

July 31, 2018

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.

January 31, 2019

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

September 4, 2018

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

Thanks for the detailed explanations!

June 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

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".

June 28, 2017

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.

July 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Christian.M.o.n

Also what I've learned.

January 3, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gnormal1

This is also my understanding.

June 30, 2017

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.

October 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KathrynLouise88

Amazing explanation, thanks!

June 20, 2017

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?

November 12, 2017

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).

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

The first is an apology. The second is closer to "excuse me".

November 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Divyanshu937485

What is the use of "nasai" part here as "gomen" means "sorry". Is it just a more formal way of saying "sorry" ?

June 12, 2017

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

From what I've read that is correct, it's just more formal.

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafatHussa1

thank you

February 4, 2018

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

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.

August 14, 2017

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(^_^;

August 15, 2017

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.

November 19, 2018

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)

March 3, 2018

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.)

March 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VnGiang10

thanks

August 5, 2018

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

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

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

July 18, 2018

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.

December 3, 2018

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

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

August 4, 2017

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?

November 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VnGiang10

I am beginners and your comments help me very much. thank u guys❤

August 5, 2018

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.

August 10, 2018

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

"oh man.. I s'rry"
go-me-na-sai
ちんげんさい

August 13, 2018

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

Why are the pronouncing the ご like /ko/ ? It should be /go/ right?

September 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

I hear "go", as it indeed should be.

September 20, 2018

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.

November 13, 2018

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

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

December 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

It's a lot closer to simply "apologies".

December 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BryantB3

"Gomen" would suffice, am I correct?

May 26, 2018

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

Yes*

The fine print: many other comments on this very page have addressed this question already. Please read them (preferably before commenting, next time).

June 25, 2018

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

"oh man, I s'rry" go me na sai ごめんなさい

August 13, 2018

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!

January 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

"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.

January 9, 2019

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

Thanks for your explaination!

January 10, 2019

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

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

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

Because that's what a period/full stop looks like in Japanese.

January 27, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pedro724517

Comme on im sorry ko mi na sa i

April 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

go-me-n-na-sa-i.

April 30, 2019

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?

June 3, 2019

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.

June 3, 2019

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

What is i and am mean from the japanese sentence ?

October 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

It's not a word-for-word calque. The literal Japanese is closer to just "apologies".

October 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafatHussa1

I am confused

February 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

Hi, confused. I'm Rae. Nice to meet you.

February 4, 2018

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

i dont think you mean it

October 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LachlanHub1

I accidentally pressed the check box

January 23, 2019

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

Can someone explain the difference between すみません and ごめんなさい please?

August 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

It's been explained on this page already.

August 7, 2017

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

Sorry, my bad! ありがとう!

August 7, 2017

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

Inst "sorry" = "daitashimashitê" ?

May 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rae.F
  • 2033

どう いたしまして is the reply to ありがとう.

May 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rick._C-137

yeet

February 19, 2019
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