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About "thanks"

I just did the learning cards and I found a thing not quite right.

It was about "thanks a lot" which they translated into Japanese as どうもありがとう or dōmo arigatō. But when I did Learning Japanese with Risa on youtube she said that while that isn't technically wrong altogether, no Japanese really ever says that. It's a common misconception from movies and from what I've heard in live music performances and elsewhere I think the proper way to say "thanks a lot" is ありがとうございますた


December 26, 2017



There are many levels of politeness and formality in Japanese. Main ones are: casual, standard polite, very polite (keigo). For example, to say "thank you" (listed in order by how polite you are being) you may say:

  • どうも - doumo - thanks - very casual, it's considered rude to say it to strangers or elders, but may be used among close friends; the word by itself mens "much", so this is kind of a slangy way of saying "thanks man";

  • どうもありがとう - doumo arigatou - thank you much - less polite than "arigatou gozaimasu", more polite than "doumo";

  • ありがとう (ございます) - arigatou (gozaimasu) - most common, "standard" polite form of thanking, that's what is usually taught to foreigners learning Japanese; "gozaimasu" adds more politeness and formality to the phrase;

  • どうもありがとうございます - doumo arigatou gozaimasu - thank you very much/ I am very thankful - very polite and formal, implies much gratitude - here "doumo" means that you are thankful "a lot";

So if someone is to choose from the above, they probably usually would go with simple "arigatou"/"arigatou gozaimasu" for standard politeness or "doumo" when among pals. The "doumo arigatou" is somewhere in between and it's formal level is a bit blurry, because if someone wants to "thank someone much", people usually use the polite form "gozaimasu" instead of just "doumo".

BTW, to delete your duplicated post, just click on the "delete" at the bottom (next to "reply" and "edit") of the post you want to remove ;)


Brilliant explanation. I would include that ありがとう by itself sounds cute (in an infantile way). Before being able to speak properly, most Japanese young children will say ありがとう without the ございます ending. I must say, though, that it is even cuter when they start to use the complete form :)


Thanks for your reply. I was just a bit confused since I was told (by this Japanese teacher) that basically no native Japanese ever says doumo arigatou. Also, what would you say about the "ta" added at the end sometimes? I've often heard both arigatou gozaimasu and arigatou gozaimasuta [ ありがとうございますた ]


Do you mean "arigatou gozaimashita" (ありがとうございました) ?

"Ta" is an ending for past tense, it's actually part of the "mashita" - past form of "masu". "Arigatou gozaimashita" is similar to "arigatou gozaimasu", but it's the past tense and it's used when thanking somebody for a service, when someone has done something for you. It refers to an event that has happened in the past and is already finished.

Example: your friend helps you fix your car and after you are done, you sit down to rest and chat. Then you mention the work you've done and say "arigatou gozaimashita" when thanking for it.

On a side note: "arigatou" by itself is not as polite as "arigatou gozaimasu", so when talking to strangers, elders, people you don't really know really well "arigatou gozaimasu" is the safer option to use.

at comment below: Arigatou gozaimasu! I wish you luck in your studies! :)


You have been much helpful. Here, have a lingot! :)

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