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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... How do I express gratitude in Japanese correctly at work?
There are so many ways to express gratitude in Japanese-- お疲れ様でした(o-tsukare sama deshita)、ご苦労様でした(go-kurō sama deshita)、お手数をおかけしました(o-tesū o o-kake shimashita)...How do you know which one to use and when?
These expressions are all used for appreciation, but there are distinct differences. Let’s go over them one by one.
The phrase, お疲れ様でした(o-tsukare sama deshita) is used to pay respect to someone who worked hard or did a good job. It’s a phrase used amongst colleagues and co-workers casually or humbly with people in higher positions. It shows respect for everyone and the work that they do.
The phrase, ご苦労様でした(go-kurō sama deshita), on the other hand, is used to recognize the efforts of someone in a lower position than you. For example, you can use it when receiving a package from a delivery person at your house. As a customer, you’re considered to be in a higher position.
Lastly, we have the phrase, お手数をおかけしました(o-tesū o o-kake shimashita). This phrase is also used to thank people for their efforts, but has an apologetic tone, as if someone put in a lot of effort to help you. It can often be used with the apology-- 申し訳ありませんでした(mōshiwake arimasen deshita).
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use these phrases correctly.
First, with お疲れ様でした(o-tsukare sama deshita)--
部長、会議はもう終わったんですか。お疲れ様でした。(Buchō, kaigi wa mō owatta n desu ka.O-tsukare sama deshita.)
“Oh, department chief, has the meeting finished already? You must be tired.” Here, a person in a higher position is coming back from an important meeting. Therefore, you’re showing respect for his or her hard work.
Now, let’s do an example with ご苦労様でした(go-kurō sama deshita)--
配達、ご苦労様でした。(Haitatsu, go-kurō sama deshita.)
This phrase literally translates as, “Thank you for your work of delivery.” Here, you are appreciating the work done by the person who has delivered your package. Again, as a customer, you’re in the higher position.
Last, let’s do an example with お手数をおかけしました(o-tesū o o-kake shimashita)--
お手数をおかけし、申し訳ありませんでした。(O-tesū o o-kake shi, mōshiwake arimasen deshita.)
This phrase literally translates as, “I apologize for bothering you and giving you some extra work to go through.” Here, you are recognizing the efforts someone went through a lot to help you.
Once you start getting the hang of Japanese, you realize that a simple arigatou is really not enough to get your point across. Although none of these phrases are required for any situation, learning their nuances and appreciating their meanings brings you one step closer to really understanding Japanese.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!