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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!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 28th, 2015 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 27th, 2020 at 07:52 AM
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Hi Alexandre,

Thank you for your comment!😄

No. You are not misinterpreted. I would use "arigatō" to be polite enough.👍

Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Best regards,


Team JapanesePod101.com

June 25th, 2020 at 03:43 PM
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Konichiwa mina-san!

I understand the difference, however, I'd rather use arigatou, since I prefer to respect either a friend or a shop assistance.

Would I be misinterpreted, if so?


Wah Wah
March 27th, 2018 at 12:56 PM
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Can I use とうもwith my superior person?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 21st, 2018 at 06:08 AM
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Thank you for the comment! Yes, using ありがとう all the time is a safe way to avoid any misunderstanding!

Keep up the great work!

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 17th, 2018 at 02:24 PM
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I may use どうも from time to time but I think I will be mostly sticking with ありがとう so I don't accidentally offend anyone.

Thank you for the lesson, it really helps ;)

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 30th, 2017 at 04:29 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



Team JapanesePod101.com

Paul Nakatani
August 22nd, 2017 at 06:53 PM
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I'll just use arigato to be safe.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 26th, 2017 at 01:21 PM
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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.:wink:

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

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

February 1st, 2017 at 04:55 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)

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 21st, 2016 at 03:26 PM
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Bella Rose


Yes, of course.:smile:

Arigatou gozaimasu is politer though.

Yuki  由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com