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I've seen お疲れさま and ご[苦労]{くろう}さま used to say "Thank you" after some had done work of some type. After reading the お疲れさま thread, I realize that the two are not interchangeable. So when do you use ご[苦労]{くろう}さま?

When is it appropriate to use otsukaresama?

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It might be fun to also compare "お疲れ~!" and "ご苦労。" :D –  Chocolate Mar 23 '12 at 5:05
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@Chocolate true, true, that would be interesting; people my age always seem to end up using お疲れ〜 with me, and older people always seem to use ご苦労 with me, haha... –  summea Mar 23 '12 at 15:15
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@Chocolate: Feel free to. However, please make it an answer not a comment :) –  dotnetN00b Mar 23 '12 at 15:20
    
@summea: See above :) –  dotnetN00b Mar 23 '12 at 15:20
    
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

(First, a note: because there is a ご at the beginning of ごくろうさま, that お〜 is actually not there. :)

I've most often heard ご苦労様{くろうさま} used by people older than myself, when I have done something for the person (or in some way have helped the person,) using that phrase. (Besides age, this could also happen in a business situation, where a senior worker is speaking to a junior worker.)

For reference, more information can be found in the following articles; one in English, and one in Japanese:

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From how I understand it, it is sort of a subsection of when you might say お疲れ様でした, for when people are "just doing their job" so to speak. Like if a firefighter gets a cat from out of a tree, or you're leaving your job site and are talking to your co-workers. It seems to me that this is said to police officers a lot.

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Can someone explain why I'm wrong/got downvoted please? –  silvermaple Mar 26 '12 at 22:39
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