What is the difference between 故{こ}障{しょう}中{ちゅう} and だめです when speaking, for example, if some electronic appliance is not working. When each should be used?

  • Well, one means literally 'broken' and the other has quite a few other meanings ...
    – oals
    Sep 2, 2016 at 6:24
  • 2
    We have quite a number of "What is the difference between..." questions, but rarely one that tries to compare two things as different as 故障中 and だめです...
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 2, 2016 at 7:53
  • I agree, but this one makes sense, because the question emerged when I saw Japanese language lesson - the girl asked if ceiling lamp is blown out - だめですか?, and then the man answered - はい、だめです。 Sep 2, 2016 at 9:09
  • だめだ is obscure and not sure what it's turning down.
    – user4092
    Sep 2, 2016 at 12:10

1 Answer 1


故障中 is better than だめです.

プリンターは故障中です is a natural sentence.

プリンターはだめです is unnatural.

故障中 means 'broken'. だめ has a lot of meanings, for example, no good, broken, hopeless, cannot, must not...

If we already know the printer is broken, we may understand だめです means 'broken', but if we don't know the situation we will not be sure of the meaning of だめです.

  • 3
    そのプリンターはダメです seems pretty natural to me...
    – virmaior
    Sep 2, 2016 at 10:44
  • 3
    Just to add: if someone says that a printer is 「ダメです」, then the printer is may not be broken, but just "not good" or maybe the speaker needs the printer for a job and is telling me I can't use it.
    – Jimmy
    Sep 2, 2016 at 17:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .