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Grammar detail: excuses, apologies, and attracting attention

excuses, apologies, and attracting attention
99 words
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Japanese has various ways to apologize, to excuse oneself, and to attract attention. Here are a few of the more common expressions and the situations in which they might be used.
To say 'Excuse me ...' as a prelude to asking a question, the simplest expression is すみません, which can be joined with a reason / question using が:
すみません
としょかん
図書館
どこです
Excuse me, but where is the library?
A somewhat politer expression which can be used interchangeably is
しつれい
失礼
です(が)- literally 'I'm being rude (but)' ...
しつれい
失礼
ですこの
せき
いています

Excuse me, is this seat taken?
To apologize, either for an actual mistake or error, or as a polite refusal, the most common expression is
もうしわけ
申し訳
ありません(が):
もう
わけ
ありません
こんや
今夜
とめできません
I'm sorry I can't put you up tonight.
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Kanji used in this grammar

シツ   うしな to lose   
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ライ   レイ    thanks, salutation   
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シン   もう to say   
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ヤク   translate; reason   わけ reason, explanation   
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ト   ズ   はか to map, plan   
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ショ   か to write   
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カン    building   やかた castle, mansion   
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セキ    seat   
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クウ   から empty   あ to be empty   あける to empty, vacate   そら sky   
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コン   キン   いま now   
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ヤ   よる    よ night   
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