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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? 2012/6/24 17:28
Can you please explain in detail?
Also, how I would use it in a sentence.

Thanks in advance.
by DarkOpsDelta (guest)  

Re: Difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? 2012/6/24 20:11
"Sumimasen" is like "excuse me," for a light apology, or when stopping someone on the street to ask directions, when trying to pass someone in a narrow street, etc.

"Gomennasai" is "I am sorry," a real apology.

Each of them is a sentence on its own. But often when you use "sumimasen" when you want to ask directions, it might be used as in:
- Sumimasen ga, Tokyo eki wa dochira desu ka.
(Excuse me, but which way is Tokyo station?)
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? 2012/6/24 21:51
'Gomen-nasai' is not used in business situations (or writing). So it sounds for more private use like when you want to say 'I am sorry'.

When you say 'I am sorry' in business or official situations, it becomes 'mousi-wake-arimasen', which means 'there is no excuse'.

by Jay Key (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? 2012/6/25 02:18
Need to understand where the words come from.
sumimasenn=済まない means it can not be let-go without raising an issue (so I ask you, i.e. a direction, your attention, etc.)
In Kyushu it is said "suimasen".
It is often used as "pardon me". And when you feel your fault may have caused a problem or an issue on other(s)and apologize.
Gomennasai=御免なさい in which men=permission, often used by kids or among friends that you feel you have caused the problem and apologize, I am sorry, i.e. late, broke a cup, etc. We often say "gomenkudasai" when we visit a a shop or house so to get an attention.
"moshiwake arimasen"=申し訳ありません means I have no excuse that it is clear it is my(our) fault (even though it may be out of your control) and apologize to strangers, customers & others (i.e. sold out, no choice, a mistake, etc.)
Also learn about shiturei(失礼、missing respect), burei(無礼、no respect)i, etc.
by ay (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? 2016/5/6 11:57
Surmising, then, all of the above, the conclusion must be that "sumimasen" is generaly used in apologetic way to try and not misunderstand and/or incoveniance someb. But "Gomen nasai"is used to apologise for a an actual mistake, tresspass amd/or imcovemiance.

Unless I've got this all wrong and I should be up for sepuku :)
by Nihon Ernie rate this post as useful

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