Gozaimasu and Gozaru - What it really means


You may have heard the word gozaimasu [ございます] in expressions like ohayou, omedetou and arigatou gozaimasu. So what the hell does the expression gozaimasu mean? Many claim that it means "thank you very much" (arigatou gozaimashita), but does it really mean that?

The word go-za-i-ma-su (御座います) is composed of the honorable characters [御] and position [御] and is usually written only with hiragana. The main meaning of the word is to be, exist or have. This word is often used mainly in keigo, in place of arimasu [あります] or desu [です].

Her appearance in expressions like thank you or congratulations makes an impression of strength, but in reality she is expressing humility and politeness. Use these expressions without gozaimasu it is common when we are among friends or close people who do not need to use formality.

Gozaimasu e gozaru - o que realmente significa

Gozaru - The origin of Gozaimasu

To understand the true meaning of gozaimasu (ございます) we must first understand its origin. The word gozaimasu is nothing but a formal version of the verb gozaru [御座る] which is the verb to be (in English the famous verb to be). If you have watched anime or samurai movies you must have heard phrases ending in gozaru over and over.


Formerly gozaru was literally the polite form of aru; iru [ある; いる], except that it was used for both people and inanimate objects. Currently gozaru is only used in Japanese in the forms gozaimasu, gozaimashita, gozaimashitara and the famous desu which is a degozaru contraction (でござる).

Sometimes when we speak of the verb to be in Japanese some have mistaken ideas. To try to better simplify the being of the verb gozaru and derivatives, we can compare with the sign of [=] in sentences where we are saying things like [My name = Kevin]. I don't even need to mention that gozaimashita is the past of gozaru in masu form.

Gozaimasu e gozaru - o que realmente significa

Using the expression gozaimasu

You will not hear the verb gozaimasu just when you say good morning, thanks or congratulations. If you go to a restaurant, the employees there will probably use keigo and say gozaimasu instead of aru. To finish the article we will leave some example sentences for you to understand more about this subject:

We have something special for you, sir. (dish)特別料理がございますが。Tokubetsu ryōri ga gozaimasuga.
Do you have any particular style in mind?特にお望みの型はございますか。Tokuni nozomi no wagozaimasuka kata.
This is an operator.交換台でございますKōkandai degozaimasu
Do you have a message?何かご伝言はございますか。Nanika go dengon wagozaimasuka.
We have safesセーフティーボックスがございます。Sēfutībokkusu gagozaimasu.
How many pieces of luggage do you have?お荷物はいくつございますか。The nimotsu wa ikutsu gozaimasuka.
We also have some local wines.いくつかこの土地のワインもございます。Ikutsu ka kono tochi no wain mogozaimasu.