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Why are these 2 words different? Google Translate says they mean the same thing. When would each be used?

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Instead of relying on Google Translate, I would recommend using a dictionary – Blavius Feb 14 at 21:31
up vote 9 down vote accepted

Both mean good night, but the shorter one is less polite.

You must use おやすみなさい, the longer one, when you say good night to your guest, teacher, boss, etc. To your family, whichever is fine. Kids are generally taught to use おやすみなさい first, and then they start to use おやすみ somewhere in their childhood.

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  • Ta/Thanks/Thank you.
  • Bye/Goodbye.
  • Morning!/Good morning!
  • Seeya/See you/See you tomorrow.
  • G'night/Good night.

In most languages, polite terms get shortened to show casual familiarity.

  • Ohayou/Ohayou gozaimasu.
  • Dozo/Dozo yoroshiku.
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"Dozo/Dozo yoroshiku." >> Probably you meant to say "Yoroshiku / Dozo yoroshiku (or Yoroshiku onegaishimasu?)" 「どうぞ」と「どうぞよろしく」は同じ意味では使わないので… – chocolate Feb 15 at 4:40

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