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How do you respond to ありがとうございます and other ways of giving thanks? Are there any expressions similar to the English "You're welcome" or "No problem", or is it appropriate to not respond at all?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The simplest one is 「いいえ」, "not at all". The next one up is 「どういたしまして」, "would do the same". Another one you may come across is 「とんでもない」, "don't mention it", or one of its more polite variants (replacing 「ありません」 or 「ございません」 as appropriate). There are even more polite responses, but as a 外国人 you will not be expected to have to worry about them.

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11  
I'd like to suggest that we avoid exceptionalism for being non-native-Japanese. If there are other responses available in the language, then let's learn them. –  Dave M G Jul 15 '11 at 13:27
    
I actually agree. My "don't worry" was meant to be more informative than final. –  Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jul 15 '11 at 13:45
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Though not many Japanese know, it is grammatically incorrect to say とんでもありません or とんでもございません。 The correct way to say the polite form is either とんでもないことです or とんでもないことでございます. –  syockit Jul 15 '11 at 15:19
    
@Ignacio: Fair enough. It's just something I am extra sensitive to. ;) –  Dave M G Jul 15 '11 at 16:10
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You know, maybe this is just me, but I rarely hear どういたしまして these days, despite the fact that it's always included in the Chapter 1: Greetings and Common Phrases portion of most courses. And when I do hear it, it's sometimes said sarcastically, as though the speaker doesn't really want to say it but is adding a veneer of politeness for the sake of politeness. I would personally rank とんでもない above どういたしまして simply because the former is much more common. –  Derek Schaab Jul 15 '11 at 20:18

どういたしまして

It's the safe way to go but it' very long and can be viewed as a little too much for a simple "thank you" (this is still keigo)

いいえ いいえ

Often pronounced as: いえいえ or いやいや as it is shorter

おぉ

Japanese like to make sounds like this often. Can be used for very small things, like someone dropped a paper and you help picking it up. 「ん」with a smile works as well.

ノープロブレム

No problem.

問題ない

No problem. (To use with いいえ for clarity?)

構わない

Often preceded by いいえ -> That's ok, no problem.

おやすいご用です

Often preceded by いいえ -> Lit. "That was an easy task". Very polite.

良かったらまたどうぞ

Lit. "I'll do the same next time" Very polite.

とんでもない

Often preceded by いいえ -> No, that's nothing.

うん, いいよ

Say that to a friend. "oh, it's OK". Simple and widely used.

こちらこそ (ありがとう)

If you need to say thank you also (thank you too)

礼にはおよばないんです

Lit. "No need to be polite".

気にしないで

Often preceded by うん or おー. "Don't worry, don't mention it"

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1  
I like the extensiveness of this list, so +1 for that, but the discussion on 問題ない elsewhere seems to indicate that this phrase isn't quite analogous to the English "No problem." –  Derek Schaab Jul 15 '11 at 20:22

どう致しまして(どういたしまして) is one way. I tend to go with a simple nod and 'ん', myself. (I'm really bad at receiving 'thank yous' in both languages, though.)

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Also, "no problem" = 問題ない(し) - (I personally add the し to soften it).

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6  
That is colloquial, and is used only among certain young generation, and is impolite if you use it in formal occasions. Actually, 問題ない will be a bit rude. The whole idea of responding to thanks is different between English and Japanese. In English, you acknowledge that you did a good thing. In Japanese, you have to deny it. –  user458 Jul 15 '11 at 14:37
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To go in the same direction as @sawa: that "問題ない" (with or without し) quite possibly doesn't mean what you think it means. Although it literally means "no problem", that's not exactly the same sort of idiomatic "no problem" as what you'd use in reply to a thanks. You'd tend to use it when there really could be a problem and you are saying it's all OK. –  Dave Jul 15 '11 at 19:22
    
@sawa - [[In English, you acknowledge that you did a good thing. In Japanese, you have to deny it]] - good point; I wish I could +1 your comment again. @Dave - I would say that "no problem" is a cliche, not an idiom since it can/often-does take the literal meaning of the words; but I see what you meant. –  istrasci Jul 15 '11 at 19:39
    
Do Japanese people know the Spanish/Spanglish phrase "no problemo"? –  Andrew Grimm Jan 21 '12 at 10:43

No one said two really common expressions: どうってことない and いいってこと, followed usually by よ ... Also any similar expression ( どうってことはない, どうと言うこともない, どうって言うことはない and so on...).

To prove the use of ii tte koto, which I guess may be regional, here is a link
However, I'm not questioning how often you hear it in real life, I'm saying you hear it pretty often. And that's true if you watch television (you can read more in the comment).

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1  
「いいってことよ!」←ナルト?江戸っ子? –  Choko Aug 13 at 16:14
    
江戸っ子の言葉みたいだと言っている人もいますが、そんなことない、自然だと言っている人もいます。 –  Kokoroatari Aug 13 at 16:36
    
Downvote without comments shouldn't be permitted. Next time I can just avoid answer, even if what I have to say (right or wrong) may bring something to the discussion. –  Kokoroatari Aug 14 at 11:00
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Presumably whoever downvoted feels that they aren't "really common expressions". –  snailboat Aug 14 at 11:17
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ダウンボートしたの私じゃないですけど、「いいってことよ」ってドラマや漫画などフィクションの中の男性以外は使わないと思います。そのリンク先の知恵袋でも「テレビとか‌​マンガでしか聞いたことありません。」「ちょっと気持ち悪さを感じると思います。ひきます」「江戸っ子ですか~(笑)」「「ありがとう」に「いいってことよ」って表現自体あ‌​まり耳にしない」「普段から面白いことを言ったり冗談めかしていうことが多い人なんでは」って書いてありますよね?つまり、テレビ・ドラマ・漫画などのフィクションではco‌​mmonなのでしょうが、real lifeにおいてはcommonではないと思うんです。 –  Choko Aug 14 at 13:15

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