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

Responding to being thanked

I use Lang-8, and I recently received this message after grading a post by a Japanese student of English:

丁寧な添削ありがとうございました!

Instead of replying with the typical どういたしまして that I was taught, I wanted to learn a new response. I did a quick google search and the top result was:

https://www.livinglanguage.com/community/discussion/315/saying-youre-welcome-in-japanese-not-recommended

The Japanese language is known to have a lot of polite expressions and courtesy expressions. The phrase "You're welcome" is normally regarded as a courtesy expression; however, I don't recommend using this phrase in Japanese (which goes, どういたしまして Doo itashimashite).

Why not? This is because it doesn't sound humble, but instead it could sound like you think you deserve some appreciation. This may not be true when "You're welcome" is uttered in English, but in Japanese it could be taken that way. Even if you actually do think you deserve some appreciation, you're suppose to hide it in Japanese!

What should you say instead? Your appropriate response varies depending on the situation you're in, but here are a couple of suggestions:

こちらこそ、ありがとうございます。Kochirakoso arigatoo gozaimasu.

"Thank YOU!"

(Adding the expression "kochirakoso" basically has the effect equivalent to putting a stress on "YOU" in English.)

いえいえ。 Ieie

"No no."

(This basically means, "Not at all." It is a commonly used phrase; "No" is simply repeated twice, but because it's uttered very fast, the vowel "i" becomes short. So, instead of "Iie, iie", it becomes "Ieie".)


Looking back at my time in Tokyo, now it makes sense why I was always thanked after I would thank someone.

Does anyone else have any suggestions on how to respond, formally and informally, after being thanked?

November 28, 2017

3 Comments


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

It's not that どういたしまして is rude, it is just unoriginal. A bit too 'by the book'. The same is true in English, where you're welcome is often replaced with 'My pleasure', 'Glad I could help', etc. Actually, over the course of several years I never heard Japanese say どういたしまして except as a kind of tongue-in-cheek response.

Now, for your options:

  • よろこんで! 'My pleasure!' (A bit short and casual)
  • とんでもありません 'It was nothing' (A bit formal)
  • お手伝い(てつだい)することが出来て(できて)良かった(よかった)です。'Glad I could help'
  • 助けることが出来てハッピーです。'Happy I could help' (a bit casual)

As it sounds like appreciation is one-sided in your case I don't think that こちらこそ expressions would be appropriate. I would recommend #3.

November 28, 2017

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

I figured that expression wasn't appropriate as well.

I did some more searching last night and replied with いいえ、とんでもありません before going to sleep. That's the only one that I discovered out of the list that you posted, so thanks for introducing me to the other expressions!

November 28, 2017

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

Glad to be of assistance!

December 1, 2017
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