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Supposing I'm meeting a colleague's wife for the first time, I was trying to think of how to modify いつもお世話になっています to express something like "I'm always in your husband's care". Is this appropriate? if so, how would I modify the phrase?

I've encountered the phase used where the speaker is thanking the person he's talking to on behalf of a third person - for example 息子がお世話になっています - and I wondered if it works the other way around.

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You could say to her:

「いつもご[主人]{しゅじん}[に]お[世話]{せわ}になっております。」= "I'm always in your husband's care".

Do not forget the honorific ご. The に can be replaced with には without changing the meaning.

She would say to you:

「いつも主人[が]お世話になっております。」= "My husband is always in your care."

She will not use the ご because it is her own husband.

Finally, it is always the particle that can change the meaning of the sentence entirely. In this case, it is に vs. が.

(If you usually did not speak all that politely or humbly, you could replace the おります part with います, but you could never omit that ご.)

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I would say:

[私は]ご主人にいつもお世話になっております。
〜"I'm always in your husband's care"
(I am sure you can come up with an appropriate English equivalent. The [ ]= unspoken.)

The following examples from the Apple dictionary illustrate the grammar for the expression 世話になる

息子はその婦人にたいへんお世話になった|My son owes that woman a great deal.

伯父には金銭上の世話になった|I had financial help from my uncle.

  • 「私は」 in that greeting is not even optional. It is just not used. – l'électeur Mar 4 '14 at 13:14
  • @TokyoNagoya: The square brackets around [私は] were intended to indicate this part was unspoken. Correct me if I am wrong but I think it is grammatically correct (if it is not then this common misunderstanding among us learners). – Tim Mar 5 '14 at 2:54

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