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In daily conversation, people often use this phrase : doumo. In the beginner level, one of the first parts to be taught are the greeting expressions : good morning, good day, how are you, see you next time, and thank you or sorry.

The complete formal form when someone needs to express an apology in Japanese is : doumo arigatou gozaimashita (どうもありがとうございました). This phrase contains doumo.

Doumo is an adverb to indicate that one cannot make a definite statement about something, due to lack of hard evidence. It has similar meanings with this expression : I gather that ~ ; no matter how ; for some reason ; I don’t know why but ; I cannot manage to

Sentences forms/meanings :

To indicates the speaker/writer cannot make a definite statement about something, because s/he cannot identify / pinpoint the reason.

*この文の意味がどうもよく分からない 。
kono bun no imi ga doumo yokuwakaranai .
(I don’t know why, but I cannot understand this sentence very well).

Yamada-san wa doumo hokkaido daigaku ni hairitai rashii .
( I gather that Mr. Yamada wants to enter Hokkaido University ).
–> the speaker has no solid evidence about Yamada’s entrance to Hokkaido University.   

B. The final predicate ia overtly negative.
Kono goro doumo karada no choushi ga yokunain desu.
(I don’t know why, but lately I don’t feel good).

Ucinokowa terebi bakari wo mite, doumo hon wo yomanai .
(I don’t know why, but our kids are always watching TV and do not read books.)

C. Doumo is use with arigatou (gozaimasu) to mean ‘Thank you very much’, or with sumimasen  to mean ‘I’m very sorry’. Doumo alone can mean a very casual ‘Thank you’ or ‘sorry’ without the following arigatou (gozaimasu) or sumimasen.

Senjitsu wa doumo arigatougozaimashita .
(Thank you very much for what you did for me the other day).

doumo sumimasen.
(I’m sorry).

D. Examples of daily use of “Doumo”

1. When you and someone in front of you are about to enter a supermarket and the person in front of you opens the door and holds it until you also get in, you can say to him/her “Doumo…” and bow as an expression of thanks.

 2. When you bump into your neighbor or friend, you would usually greet him/her, say some words, and leave. Before leaving him/her you can say “Doumo…”, which means “would you excuse me?”. But do not say this word for bidding a farewell after a formal meeting, or after meeting your teacher or your son/daughter’s teacher.

3.When you are entering an elevator and passengers already inside are squeezing to give you a space, you can say “Doumo …” as an expression of thanks.

4.When you drop something while riding a bicycle or walking and someone awakes you to it, you can say “Doumo…” to him/her.

5.When you pass a very narrow road and someone from your opposite direction chooses to wait and lets you move first, then you can say “Doumo…” to him/her, which means “thanks”.

 –>In a daily life, after getting a help or bumping into someone you know, you can use the word “doumo” to express your thanks or to excuse yourself

 –>“Doumo” is a practical term and a useful word in many situations. While “doumo” does not have a particular meaning, the person you utter the word to will easily understand what you mean by it.


Noun :

文 : bun = sentence
意味 : imi = meaning
大学 : daigaku = university
体 : karada = body
調子 : choushi = condition (body)
本 : hon = book
うちの子 : uchi no ko = my child
テレビ : terebi = television

Verb :

分かる : wakaru = to understand
読む : yomu = to read
入る : hairu = to enter