Nihongo: How to respond to “thank you”

In work, my colleagues would sometimes request or ask me to help them. And more often than not, when they thank me by saying ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu), I’m not sure what the most appropriate reply is.

So here I compile the list of phrases we can use when responding to thank you:

どういたしまして (douitashimashite)

This is the textbook and safest reply to thank you but sounds robotic for me. It’s the equivalent of saying You’re welcome.

いいえ いいえ (iie iie)
いえいえ (ie ie)
いやいや (iya iya)

Literally saying No no (don’t mention it).
This one might not be good for formal situation and must be accompanied with a smile. 🙂

問題ない (もんだいない; mondainai)
問題なし (もんだいないし; mondainashi)

Translation: No problem.
The し (shi) makes it sound softer (and more polite but I might be wrong).
This one might not be good enough for formal situation too.

こちらこそ、ありがとう (kochira koso arigatou)

Translation: I am the one who should thank you.
Use this one if you also need to give a thank you to the one who said it.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you can use the above phrases next time someone says thank you to you.

— Edit —
As pointed out in the comment, the above phrases are for casual and informal situation. Checkout まいける’s comment for more formal ways to reply for thank you.

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Author: Rowell

Rowell is a software engineer by day and a frustrated writer at night. When I'm not with my laptop, I am usually with a guitar or watching netflix.

3 thoughts on “Nihongo: How to respond to “thank you””

  1. どういたしまして (douitashimashite)
    こちらこそ、いつもありがとうございます (kochirakoso itsumo arigatou gozaimasu)
    いいえ (iie)

    are good to reply to familiar people with you.
    If he or she is superior,
    「また、いつでもおっしゃって下さい」  (I like this)
    「とんでもないことでございます。お役に立てればうれしいです」
    「喜んでいただけて幸いです」
    「お役に立てて幸せです」
    「そんなに言われるときょうしゅくです」
    「お手伝いできてよかったです。」
    「他にもお手伝いできることがあれば、お申し付けください」
    are a little polite.

    but we know you are non-Japanese so
    どういたしまして (douitashimashite)
    いいえ (iie)
    are enouth to reply. then people will be happy to hear.

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