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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of *your* most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…
What is the difference between ARIGATO and DOMO?
When you go to a shop and a shop assistant hands you your change, you‘d say “Thanks.” to them. You know that ‘Arigato’ is the most common phrase in Japanese, but you hear Japanese people saying ‘Domo’ instead of ‘Arigato.’
So what’s the difference?
The word ‘domo’ itself is grammatically an adverb and means “for some reason," or “somehow.” It is used to emphasise the greeting phrases. So, this ‘Domo’ can be used together with ‘Arigato.’ as in ‘domo arigato’ meaning “Thank you so much.”
Just saying ‘domo’ would be less polite than ‘Arigato’ since it’s the short version of ‘Domo arigato.’ People use ‘domo’ rather than ‘arigato’ when they consider ‘arigato’ is a little bit formal in a situation. They also use it when they just want to say something as a reply. For example, when you leave a shop and a shop assistant says ‘Arigato gozaimashita.’ meaning “Thank you” to you, you can say ‘Domo.” as the reply.
Please note that some people consider ‘Domo.’ is a little bit rude. It would be better to use ‘Arigato.’ when you say “Thanks” to your friends.
So, what do you say when a shop assistant hand you the items you buy and you want to say “Thanks.”? ...You’d say "Domo.” Of course, you *could* say ‘Arigato’ but it sounds a little bit too formal for the situation.
One more example;
What should you say when you buy a coffee at a cafe and the shop assistant hands you the cup? … You’d say “Domo,” but here, you could also say “Arigato” to show them your appreciation for making coffee for you.
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね!

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JapanesePod101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

August 30th, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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Hi Paul Nakatani,
Thank you for your comment!

That would be better, you might hear a lot of dōmo in Japan though.

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

Paul Nakatani
August 22nd, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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I’ll just use arigato to be safe.

February 26th, 2017 at 1:21 pm
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Laila-san,
konnichiwa!

I’m sorry, but we cannot reply to you in Spanish.
We will try to use the very simple English when we answer your questions, but
if you don’t understand anything, please feel free to ask us until you do.
We will be happy to help you as much as you need.😉

You’re right. ‘Doumo’ can be used as ‘hi’ in a very casual way and in spoken language. 😇:thumbsup:

Natsuko (奈津子),
Team JapanesePod101.com

Laila
February 1st, 2017 at 4:55 am
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Hi, sorry to bother i wanted to ask
1 if domo could be used as “Hi” because i think i heard it like that
2 if you anwser questions in Spanish, because it will be more easy for me to ask (and don’t write every thing wrong)

November 21st, 2016 at 3:26 pm
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Bella Rose
Konnichiwa.
Yes, of course.😄
Arigatou gozaimasu is politer though.
Yuki  由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

Bella Rose
November 5th, 2016 at 8:48 pm
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If I were confused and didn’t know whether to use domo or arigato, could I just stick with arigato to be safe?

July 4th, 2016 at 10:07 am
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Robbie san,
Konnichiwa. 😄
If you say ‘doumo’ slowly, it is polite.
If you say that quickly, it sounds like you don’t pay attention to people’s action.
Yuki 由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

Robbie
June 24th, 2016 at 10:33 am
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I think Im a little confused. If DŌMO is the less polite version, why would I want to use DŌMO instead of ARIGATŌ when being given change, a cup of coffee, etc.?

May 30th, 2016 at 6:36 am
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ユスラ・イクバール san,
konnichiwa.😄
Of course, you can say that to your friends.
We have a rule, the longer more polite.
Arigatou means ‘thanks’ and arigatougozaimasu means ‘thank you.’
Yuki  由紀
Team JapanesePod101.com

ユスラ・イクバール
May 6th, 2016 at 4:46 am
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Wait, so then, shouldn’t I say, ありがとうございます to my friends, since it’s nicer?