Japanese Language Blog

7 Japanese honorifics for phone calls Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 in Culture, Grammar

Communicating using honorifics on the phone~

Photo from k14 on flickr.com


One of the many occasions when you need to communicate using honorific approach is when you are on the phone.  It all depends who is calling you, of course, but for the most part, in business you need to sound polite in a way that it does not sound rude to anyone. No matter what the age of the caller, if you are dealing with your customers, you will also need to sound polite, of course.

In English when you come back to your phone after placing someone on hold, we might say, “Thank you so much for waiting.”, but this could be translated into different expressions in Japanese.

For example, if you are talking to your close friend, this could be translated into something, “Mattte ite kurete honto ni arigato.(待っていて くれて 本当に ありがとう。まっていて くれて ほんとうに ありがとう。)”

However, if this was your client, you would want to say “Omachi itadaki arigato gozaimashita. (お待ち いただき ありがとうございました。 おまち いただき ありがとうございました。)”

Do you see the difference?

By focusing on honorifics, here are some of the expressions that might come in handy for you while talking to someone on the phone “politely”.



1) Thank you for your continued support.

いつも おせわに なっております。

いつも お世話に なっております。

Itsumo osewa ni natte orimasu.


2) I am really sorry.

もうしわけ ございません。

申し訳 ございません。

Moshi wake ozaimasen


3) I got it.

かしこまりました。(しょうち いたしました)


shochi itashimashita


4) She is not at her desk at this moment.

かのじょは ただいま せきを はずして おります。

彼女は 只今 席を 外しております。

Kanojo wa tadaima seki o hazushite orimasu.


5) I am sorry to trouble you when you are busy…

おいそがしい ところ おてすう ですが。。

お忙しい 所 お手数 ですが。。。

Oisogashii tokoro otesu desuga…


6) Please forgive me..

どうぞ おゆるし ください。

どうぞ お許し 下さい。

Dozo oyurushi kudasai.


7) Thank you for calling to ~.

このたびは ~へ おでんわ いただき ありがとうございました。

この度は、~へお電話 頂き 有難うございました。

Konotabi wa ~e odenwa itadaki arigato gozaimashita.


Mastering these expressions will help you improve your communication skills on the phone using Japanese honorifics.

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.