第96課: Daily Expressions II

Formality is just one facet to be addressed this time. If you feel your knowledge is a bit rusty since then, you can return to that lesson and come back to this one.

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Basic greetings such as "good morning" and "good afternoon" vary a bit depending on formality. To begin, consider the following casual expressions. 

 Good Morning Good Afternoon Good Evening Good Night
 おはよ(う)・おはよーん・おそよう こんちゃ(っす)・ちわっす こんばんちゃ おやすみ

おはよーん and ちわっす are extremely colloquial and used among close friends. You may also hear おっす and うっす and the responses おっす(っす) and うっす(っす), which ultimately came from おはよう.

In West Japan you may hear おはようさん(です) and お晩です for おはようございます and 今晩は respectively. If you've overslept and are really tired, your friends might say おそよう, which is a mixing of おそいよ (you're late) and おはよう. Additional ways to say hi to friends include んちゃっ and んちは.

Lastly, a very important phrase to Japanese is 先日はどうも. This is used to say thanks to someone for something that person did a few days ago, possibly even a long time ago. Even if that person didn't actually do something special for you, it is courteous and expected in many situations.


Behold お名残なごりしゅうはございますが、これにて失礼させていただきます. Why would someone say this? The days of being so honorific are bygones, but traces remain in literature. お名残 refers to parting. 惜しゅうはございます is the traditional humble form of 惜しい (regrettable). にて is the original form of the particle で. させていただきます is the humblest way to say you are to do something. お名残はきませんが、これにて失礼(を)いたします is just tier down in humbleness. 尽きる means "to be used up". 

 それではこれでおいとまいたします is humble but personally oriented as お暇 refers to oneself going home. Replacing it with 失礼 makes it less humble because replacing entire words in honorifics is more esteemed. 

ご機嫌よう used to be used by children of "good families" when leaving for someone, but the phrase has become extremely rare, which is why it is often translated as "adieu". 

ごめんください(ませ) is used when parting on the phone or when leaving someone's home. It can also be used when entering a residence when you are not immediately greeted by someone.  

   ご無礼{いたしました・しました} is rather humble by saying that is oneself being rude by leaving, and this phrase is more so expected of men to say in the business world. 

失敬{いたします・します} used to be very common, but it is now typically characteristic of Kansai honorifics, which has managed to affect Standard Japanese honorifics. This is just one case where such influence reverses for whatever reason.  

おさらばです is now completely old-fashioned, but it used to be very common. Nowadays, however, in the plain form (お)さらば(だ), it has become more emotionally powerful than さようなら in implying an everlasting parting. In speaking of さようなら, you may also hear the casual/dialectical version さいなら. There also happens to be the form あばよ, which is deemed to be very vulgar and characteristic of male speech. 


 Being extremely respectful and humble can be very important when meeting an individual of importance for the first time. You know to say 初めまして and どうぞよろしくお願いします, but what if you are writing a letter to introduce oneself? How more respectful/humble can you phrase this? 

お初にお目にかかります and 初めてお目にかかります are not that different, but the first is representative of the written language. These phrases state that one is very pleased to meet someone for the first time.  

今後ともよろしく{お引き回し・ご指導(ご鞭撻べんたつ・ご教導きょうどう}のほどねがわしゅうぞんじます may seem long, but notice the brackets only add different wordings for essentially the same thing, seeking guidance from a superior. お引き回し is used to have the superior guide oneself around. 指導 is "guidance". 鞭撻 is "encouragement" and can even be used with ご指導. So, you may see something like ご指導ご鞭撻のほど申し上げます. 教導 gives the sense that one seeks both teaching and guidance. 願わしゅう存じます can be viewed as the most humble way to express 申し上げます, and due to the traditional pattern of making humble adjectives being old-fashioned now, phrases with it have essentially been relegated to use in formal writing. As such, writing the honorific prefixes お- and ご- as 御- is even more appropriate.

Maybe you will never need to be so wordy, but なにとぞよろしくお願い申し上げます is quite practical. なにとぞ is a respectful どうか, beseeching for the addressee to keep you in mind.

お手柔らかにお願いします means "please be gentle", and it is used when one is going to participate side by side someone, presumably with hands-on work. Lastly, there is also the not so honorific phrase よろしく頼みます that still politely asks for the better help of another.    


Sure, you've known how to ask お元気ですか for a long work, and 元気 is so representative of the language that it is the name of a rival teaching curriculum. Consider the following formal phrases. 

 Formal お元気でいらっしゃいますか ご無事でいらっしゃいますか ご機嫌いかがですか

 . 無事ぶじ asks about well-being.  いかがですか is normally reserved to the sick. However, that can't be said for ご機嫌いかがですか, but you will probably only come across this once in a blue moon. 

  The most polite way to say "long time no see" is お久しゅうございます, but this is really old-fashioned. You can also say しばらくでした (it's been a while), which uses the adverb しばらく meaning "quite a while" in this instance.

Casual and slang expressions for "long time no see" include  ひさしぶり(だね・ね), しばらく(だね・だったね・ね), ひさびさ, おひさ, 調子ちょうしどうよ? (How are you doing?), 最近さいきんどうよ (How have you been recently?).  

When asked "how has it been", your friend might respond with 相変(あいか)わらず (Same as always). When you feel like it's your fault for having not seen someone, you can respectfully say something like ながらくごぶさたしてすみません or ご無沙汰ぶさたいたしました. A less polite way would be ご無沙汰しました, and ごぶさたね would be casual.

       Another set of expressions are centered around the default お見限(みかぎ)りですね. This is normally used sarcastically. Its casual forms include ずいぶんお見限りだね・お見限りだったね・お見限りね. 

Thanks for Working

 In Japan, people often give thanks to others for their hard work. Practical situations you hear these phrases said include hotel clerks addressing businessmen coming in to stay the night, a spouse addressing his or her partner after work, etc. 

 Expression Meaning Politeness
 お疲れ様でございました Thank you so much for your hard work. Formal
 ご苦労様でございました ↓  ↑ Formal
 お疲れ様でした ↓  ↑ Polite
 ご苦労様でした ↓  ↑ Polite
 お疲れ様 ↓  ↑ Plain
 ご苦労様 →↑ Plain

Phrase Note: Although not specific to work, the phrase "お()遠様(どおさま)でした" meaning, "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting", is often used to workers and people in general.


Apologizing is very personal and should be taken seriously. On the other hand, if you are online and chatting with people or casually apologizing to a friend, you don't have to be so stiff and formal. So, naturally, there are also many slang ways to say sorry.

 Respectful 恐縮です I'm sorry to trouble 恐れ入ります I'm sorry to impose
 Respectful 申し訳ございません My deepest apologies  
 Slang ごめん{くさい・ちゃい} Sorry めんごめんご Whoopsy-daisy

Other words like スマソ, a common internet slang word, and わりぃ (my bad) exist. Some like すいません can actually be heard in the workplace, but probably not to the boss. Derivations like すまぬ・すまない should only be used with people you know very well. 

Please accept our deepest apologies for the mess.

I'm sorry for interrupting.