2 Almighty Japanese Words You Should Learn

  • We always start with the basic greetings when we learn a foreign language. We learn how to say good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night, goodbye. We use these words in specific situations. We say good morning in the morning, good afternoon in the afternoon and so on. But, do you say “Thank you” when you mean to say “Sorry”?

    There are some words in Japanese that can be used in various situations.

    1. Sumimasen

    Sumimasen could mean many things depending on what situation it is being used in. Most of the times, it is being shortened to “Suimasen”

    Sorry – you can say “Sumimasen” when you want to say “Sorry” in the following situations:
    – You are walking in a crowded place and accidentally step on somebody’s foot.
    – (If you are a student) You forgot your assignment (you add doumo before sumimasen)
    – If somebody asked you a question and you don’t know the answer (add the word wakarimasen at the end)

    Excuse me – say “Sumimasen” (first and foremost) when you want to say “Excuse me” in the following situations:
    – When you want to ask somebody a question
    – When you want to order food at the restaurant
    – When you want to pass through a crowd in an alley or in a bus

    Thank you – say “Sumimasen” when you want to say “Thank you” in the following situations:
    – When a waiter gives you something that you asked (i.e water, chopsticks)
    – When you receive a favor you asked from a friend
    – When you want to aknowledge the trouble that someone has gone through for you

    2. Domo

    Domo, like sumimasen could also mean many different things like sorry, thank you and excuse me. This word is even more powerful as you can add it before another word to make it more meaningful and heartfelt. It intensifies a word. Look at the following phrases:

    Domo Arigatou – Thank you very much
    Domo Sumimasen – I’m very sorry
    Domo Yoku Wakarimasen – I really don’t understand

    Actually, there are many powerful Japanese words, not only two. Can you name some of them?