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Basic Japanese phrases for smooth communication

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For those who are learning Japanese, I think they often get confused because they learn so many types of expressions when learning Japanese.

In this article, we have summarized the minimum basic phrases and expressions that people who are studying Japanese and have such concerns should know and remember.

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Japanese phrases for daily life

Basics of greetings

Daily communication can be carried out smoothly by greeting each person according to the time of day.

  • Good morning (Ohayou gozaimasu)
    • This is a greeting used in the morning.

  • Hello (Kon nichiwa)
    • Use during the day.

  • Good evening (Konbanwa)
    • Use it at night.

These greetings show basic respect for the other person and are useful in daily interactions.

expression of gratitude

"Thank you" is used in formal situations or when addressing someone you need to show respect to, such as your boss. In contrast, "thank you" is better suited to more casual settings and conversations between friends. Both are used to express gratitude.

When someone does something for you, express your sincere gratitude.

  • Thank you (Arigatou gozaimasu)
    • This is a formal expression of gratitude.

  • Thank you (Arigatou)
    • Used in more intimate relationships.

basics of reply

Replies are very important when communicating your intentions to others.

For example, by saying "yes," you can show that you agree with something or affirm something. When you answer "no," you clearly let the other person know that you are against something or that you are in denial about something. Although it is a simple word, it is a word that is always used in everyday conversation to clarify opinions and feelings and deepen understanding with the other person.

It is important to clearly communicate whether you are positive or negative.

  • Yes (Hai)
    • Used for affirmative responses.

  • No(Iie)
    • Used for negative responses.

Apology and request

The word "excuse me" is useful in many everyday situations. By using this word when admitting a mistake or asking someone for a favor, you can express your apologies and respect. This phrase is simple yet allows you to clearly convey your intentions, and is very important for avoiding misunderstandings and building smooth interpersonal relationships.

  • I'm sorry (Sumimasen)
    • It is equivalent to "Excuse me" and is used when apologizing or making a request.

Useful phrases while traveling

Traveling is full of new experiences and is really fun, but sometimes you get lost in an unfamiliar place, or you don't know what to order at a restaurant.

In preparation for such times, it's a good idea to memorize some useful words. The phrases we will introduce below will be very useful for communicating effectively in such situations, so be sure to memorize them.

when asking for directions

  • Excuse me, where is ○○? (Sumimasen, ○○ wa doko desu ka?)
    • Used when asking about a location.

  • Could you please tell me the way to ○○? (○○ e no michi o oshiete itadakemasu ka?)
    • Used when you want to know the direction.

when I went to a restaurant

  • Could I see the menu? (Menyuu o misete itadakemasu ka?)
    • Used when you want to receive a menu.

  • I will order this. (Kore o chuumon shimasu)
    • Used when ordering food.
      *If the Japanese used on the menu is difficult and you can't read the words, just point at the photo.

  • Check please. (Okaikei o onegaishimasu)
    • Used when requesting payment.

while shopping

  • how much is this? (Kore wa ikura desuka?)
    • Used when you want to know the amount.

  • Can I try this on? (Kore o shichaku shitemo iidesuka?)
    • Use when you want to try on clothes.

  • I'll take this. (Kore o kaimasu)
    • Use it when you want to make a purchase.

communication at work

Appropriate communication in the workplace is extremely important not only for work efficiency but also for building relationships of trust within the workplace. Here are some basic Japanese business phrases that will help you.

These are useful expressions that can be used in a variety of workplace situations, such as greetings during daily work, exchanging opinions at meetings, and polite email exchanges.

In greetings and daily interactions

  • “Good morning (Ohayou gozaimasu)”
    • This is the greeting you use when you go to work in the morning.

  • "I'm coming (Ittekimasu)"
    • This is the word you use when you leave your workplace.

  • "Itterasshai"
    • A greeting used when someone leaves the workplace.

  • “Thank you for your hard work (Otsukaresama desu)”
    • It is used when you are leaving work or when you call out to a colleague who is about to leave.

exchanging opinions at meetings

  • “In my opinion… (Watashi no kenkai dewa… desu)”
    • Used when expressing one's opinion or idea.

  • “My proposal is… (Watashi no teian wa… desu)”
    • This is an expression used when proposing something at a meeting.

  • "What do you think about that?"
    • This phrase is used when asking for someone else's opinion.

Through polite email exchanges

  • “Thank you for your reply (Go henshin arigatou gozaimasu)”
    • This is an expression used when receiving a reply via email.

  • "Thank you for your help, Mr.○○. (○○sama, Osewa ni natte orimasu)"
    • Use this when you want to write a polite email. We become indebted to. There is no problem with the content of the email without this sentence, but it is preferred as a more polite expression.

  • “Thank you for your continued support (Hikitsuzuki, yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)”
    • It is used at the end of an email when you want to maintain a good relationship in the future.

These phrases will help you communicate smoothly and efficiently while building trust in the workplace. It is important to always respect others and use them with courtesy.

“Easy” Japanese

"Easy Japanese" refers to spoken and written Japanese that avoids difficult expressions and uses simple, easy-to-understand words to make it easier for Japanese learners and foreigners living in Japan to understand.

Its characteristics include:

  1. Use of basic vocabulary
    • Avoid using too many difficult technical terms and kanji, and use basic words.

  2. Concise grammar structure
    • Avoid complex grammar and aim for simple, clear sentence structures.

  3. short sentences
    • Use short, concise sentences to clarify your meaning rather than long ones.

  4. refrain from using kanji
    • When using kanji, add furigana or use simple kanji.

  5. direct expression
    • Avoid indirect or figurative language and use direct and specific language.

  6. Choosing friendly words
    • Avoid excessive use of honorific language and use friendly expressions.

words used in daily life

Let's simplify words that are often used in daily conversations.

"Hello (konnichiwa)"or“Thank you (arigatou)”remains as is.
"Excuse me (sumimasen)"is more casual"I'm sorry (gomen nasai)"can be replaced with

workplace terminology

You can use "easy Japanese" to make technical terms and complex business expressions more direct and easy to understand.

"Employment contract"teeth“Shigoto no kimari”"Subcontracting"teeth“To ask someone else to do something for you (hoka no hito ni shigoto o onegai suru koto)”"payslip"teeth“Kyuuryou no setsumeisho”It changes to

Expressions related to direction and location

By choosing easy-to-understand words when explaining transportation and locations, you can provide guidance that is easy for everyone to understand.

“Where is ○○?”teeth“Where is ○○? (○○ wa doko?)”It will be shorter.
"Turn left"teeth“hidari ni magaru”
"Turn right"teeth"migi ni magaru"It can be rephrased as

Expressions that indicate emotions and physical condition

When communicating your feelings or physical condition, choosing expressions that are easy to intuitively understand will allow you to share your feelings more naturally.

"I'm tired"teeth"tired" (tsukareta)
"fun"remains as is"Tanoshii"It is expressed as

"Easy Japanese" makes it easier to communicate clearly not only with people whose native language is not Japanese, but also with people from various backgrounds.

First of all, let's learn how to use this simple Japanese.


How was that? I think there were a lot of expressions that beginners of Japanese could use to easily learn phrases that are often used in life in Japan.

The Japanese language has many special expressions and honorific expressions that will probably break your heart. However, it is possible to communicate in Japan as long as you know daily greetings, words to express gratitude, simple replies, and phrases for apologies and requests. In particular, ``Easy Japanese,'' which simplifies everyday expressions, has many expressions for beginners studying Japanese, so it might be a good idea to start from there.

I hope this article helps you gain confidence and enjoy communicating in Japanese.

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