I've been trying to figure out what the correct translation is of the phrase "I'm just browsing", in a context such as when one is looking at goods in a store (e.g. if you're walking around the shop and employee asks if you need help).

This should be straightforward, but my dictionary gives many possible translations for "browsing" (e.g. 素見{すけん}、冷{ひ}やかし、閲覧{えつらん}, etc.) and I'm not sure which would be appropriate here. What's the most appropriate translation of this phrase in the given context?


2 Answers 2


The most common phrase would be:

見てるだけです。(Literally: "I'm just looking.")

I think you could also reply like this:

店員:何かお探しですか?(Are you looking for anything in particular?)   
客:いえ、だいじょうぶです。(No, I'm okay.)

  • Only if you are talking to a brilliant but obnoxious doctor with a cane and a Vicodin addiction.
    – Kevin
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 18:37
  • 4
    @Kevin As you can see in this dictionary and this dictionary, you can say いえ, いや, as well as いいえ to mean "No". (Here I chose いえ because it sounds a bit softer than いいえ to me)
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 0:07
  • 4
    @Kevin いえ is not incorrect. It's in dictionaries. It's widely used both in fiction and in real life. Japanese learners learn it in JLPT N3 grammar. You wouldn't be able to communicate with Japanese people properly if you interpreted sentences with 「いえ、~~」 as "House, blah blah..." If you're interested to know the difference in usage and nuance between いえ and いいえ, you can post a new question.
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 0:34
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    @Kevin But you can see 「いえ、結構です」, which is close in meaning to 「いえ、大丈夫です」, there, right? Are your instructors native speakers of Japanese? 「いえ、大丈夫です」 is a common phrase that we Japanese use in daily life. No native speaker would consider 「いえ、~~」 as incorrect. You can see sentences 「いえ、大丈夫です」 and 「いえ、音がおかしいんです。」 in this real JLPT N2 exam.
    – chocolate
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 3:44
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    @Kevin Just adding another voice to say いえ used like this is perfectly fine, very common and not incorrect...
    – Robin
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 9:34

In this case, I would and have used:


"Just looking/browsing."

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