When saying goodbye, can someone tell me when each of these would be used and what the differences between them are?


2 Answers 2


「さようなら」 is certainly the most general word for saying "goodbye". However, it does sound a bit like "farewell"...

About 「失礼{しつれい}します」 now. 「失礼{しつれい}」 means "impoliteness", so literally, 「失礼{しつれい}します」 means "I'm being impolite", "I'm doing something impolite". Contextually, it means "I'm leaving", usually said while bending.

「します」 is the polite form of 「する」, which means "to do". It can be dropped, so the expression becomes 「失礼{しつれい}」. I cannot see a situation where this can be said all alone, except when leaving friends. This is not impolite, but pretty familiar.

「それでは」 now, is a bit different, in that it does not mean "goodbye" by itself. It's more or less the same as 「では」, and it basically means "so", as in, for instance:


So, shall we go?

When used as a way to say goodbye, it is a shortcut for 「それでは、また会{あ}いましょう」, "So, let's meet again". In casual (not necessarily with close friends) conversations, 「会{あ}いましょう」 is often dropped, and a 「ね」 can be appended. Most of the time, the 「では」 is contracted in 「じゃ」. So here are a few examples of what the original 「それでは、また会{あ}いましょう」 can become in casual conversations:

  • じゃー
  • じゃねー
  • またね
  • それじゃー

the common expression for saying "goodbye" is sayonara. but by saying "sayonara" that could mean you should not meet the person for a long time.

however,shitsurei shimasu is an expression that can be translated as "I bothered you" when you quit a dialog, as if you stole time to your interlocutor. very used at work !

between "shitsurei shimasu" and "shitsurei" the difference is only the polite form.

adding "shimasu" you are polite. "shitsurei shimasu" is the more popular form you may hear.

notice that "shitsurei shimasu" is also used as a greeting when you enter a meeting that has already start. open the door and say "shitsurei shimasu" means also "sorry I bother you" and is taken as a greeting.

"soredewa" means that you will quit the dialog soon. In English we should translate this by "well, ... " I think.

I hope that's comprehensible.

You must log in to answer this question.

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