Useful expressions in Japanese

The best way to improve your language is to practice using it. Even if you have a very limited vocabulary, your willingness to communicate will help start the conversation. Here are some useful expressions that are short and simple. One word you want to start with is「あのう、」which you can utter to get the attention from the person you are talking to. You can keep thinking about what you are going to say. It also get the listener ready to understand you with the full attention.

Expression Romaji Translation
あのう、 anō uh, er, umm (to draw attention)
ちょっと、 chotto Excuse me? (literally = a little)
すみません。⁺ sumimasen Excuse me? / Sorry.
はい。 hai Yes.
いいえ。 iie No.
どうも、⁺⁺ dōmo Thanks. / Hello.
ありがとう。 arigatō Thank you.
わかります。 wakarimasu I understand.
わかりません。 wakarimasen I don’t understand.

⁺ すみません is gramatically correct, but すいません (suimasen) is used more in conversation.
⁺⁺ どうも~ can emphasize what comes next (どうも すみません).
どうも by itself is short form for どうも ありがとう / どうも すみません。
どうも also can be a casual greeting “Hi!”

The first three expressions can be used by themselves or combined to form sentences.

ありがとう。」is a useful word to remember, but if you want to be more polite, try these.

Expression Romaji Meaning
dōmo arigatō Thank you very much.
arigatō gozaimasu (polite - present tense)
arigatō gozaimashita (gratitude for something
already happened - past)

Discover cultural differences:

Meaning Japan US
Yes, correct, good, choose ✔ ☒
OK, partially correct (N/A) ⁺
No, incorrect, bad, cancel ∖ ⬜
counting by fives //// (tally marks)

⁺ There is no △ used in US.

Post finder: Language guides to help with learning Japanese

October 19, 2017



October 19, 2017

Are there any alternative ways to view the images? I'm using a school computer right now and imgur is blocked.

October 19, 2017

I will ask and get back to you on that!

October 20, 2017

I sent the report, but not sure if this issue will be resolved anytime soon. In a meantime, please use the forum outside of the classrooms. :(

I believe the schools are being extra careful for the students.

October 24, 2017

how do you use "dayo" and "deshou" in a sentence ? what is the difference and what are they used for ? I hear them a lot in anime.

November 23, 2017

In Japanese, verb usage and conjugation is based on how familiar you are with a person - it's all about honorifics. "da" is the super casual form of the verb "desu" which means "to be". You would use "da" if talking with a friend but never if you were talking to your boss or a stranger. "yo" is a sentence modifier that is the equivalent of saying "Hey you probably don't know this so I am telling you" or "you know". So if you say "nemui dayo" that is saying "I'm sleepy, you know."

I haven't learned about deshou yet but a quick google search would probably give you some good answers. Hope this helps!

January 15, 2018

A bit unrelated... but that is the cutest profile picture I've ever seen! Where'd you find it?

September 19, 2018

Now the images should be visible to you all, even for the school computers. Let us know if you still have problems.

December 29, 2017

ありがとう ございます or ありがとう ございました? I am wondering about this. If I did the dishes for someone else this morning, would the person say the former or the latter? It is technically in the past, but not so much...

September 25, 2018

What I understand about the usage is basically the same as what you have understood, ます for something now and ました for something done in the past. However, in reality people uses ます even for something passed. It is to show that the speaker continues to feel the gratitude for the merits. e.g. You go to a friend's house and he treats you with food, you will say Your food is very delicious ありがとうございます and then when you leave you will say You are very hospitable ありがとうございました but your friend might say You are kind to visit us ありがとうございます. Your friend is showing that your kindness is constant (even though in reality he does not actually expect you to come again :P ).

October 6, 2018

とりあえず Toriaezu nama biru. You enter an izakaya; you don't know what to order. You say "Toriaezu nama biru". Which means, in the meantime, draft beer pls.

October 24, 2017

ありがとう ございます

October 20, 2017

どうまりがと ございました!

October 21, 2017

You should have written”どうもありがとうございました" , "doumo arigatou gozaimashita" in Roma-ji. but you typed"doumariato gozaimasita". "o" is missing!

October 22, 2017

This really shouldn't receive a down arrow.

Besides, Gozaimasu, Gozaimashita or nothing is NOT a deliberate and arbitrary option.

October 28, 2017

Gozaimashita is what you will get on google translate. Mostly remember arigato. You can add gozaimasu it isn’t required though. Adding the gozaimasu makes it Mitch more polite. Doumo can also mean well, thanks.

October 22, 2017

can anyone help me with the difference between "dayo" and deshou" ? I don't know the difference and I need examples

November 24, 2017

I assume that you do mean だよ not だろう.

だ is the plain form of です, while よ is a modal particle.

e.g. 何だよ?! What is it?! (a less polite way of saying What happened in Japanese.)

でしょう is the indefinite form of です. It is used to express an uncertainty, often used in requests and suggestions.

e.g. これは砂糖でしょうか?This should be sugar, right?

November 24, 2017
Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.