Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

しょうがない (See: This blog post, and Wikipedia)

Like "Japanese people", I am often placed in situations where no matter how hard I try, I can't change the outcome/fate. The only thing I can do is accept it.

My favored response in such a situation in English is a dejected utterance of "oh well" and/or a half-hearted shrug. Other possible rhetorical verbal responses include "can't be helped I guess" and "too bad". Situations can include the minor (It just started raining! "Oh well") and major (a hundred African children just died today because of malnourishment. "Oh well")

I have collected the following possible expressions that may be Japanese counterparts of "oh well":

まあいいけど 仕方ないか (and its variants) まあともかく そうか...

Does anyone know the difference (if any) and correct usage? And any other ones?

share|improve this question
    
"どうしようもない" might be one. But, please check that with a native speaker. –  kingyo Dec 5 '13 at 16:30
    
That sounds pretty heavy. –  非回答者 Dec 6 '13 at 0:27

1 Answer 1

As a Japanese-speaker, I myself say 「ま、いいか。」 or 「ま、いっか。」 most often in less serious situatons. IMHO, those expressions would carry the feeling of "Oh well." the best. That ま is a colloquial form of まあ. However, one should avoid saying those in response to very sad or serious news because one could sound like one was saying "Whatever."

I do not often say 「しかたない」 or 「しょうがない」 myself. Those sound too "textbook" to me depending on when and how one says them but it is also true that there are situations that call for "textbook" comments, so it is しょうがない that I end up saying those phrases once in a while.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.