What really means Gozaimasu and Gozaru

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You may have heard the word gozaimasu [ございます] in expressions such as 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 ideograms [御] and position [御] and is usually written only with hiragana. The main meaning of the word is to be, to exist or to have. This word is often used mainly in keigo, instead of arimasu [あります] or desu [で す].

Her appearance in expressions such as thank you or congratulations makes an impression of strength, but in reality she is expressing humility and politeness. Using these expressions without gozaimasu 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 listened endlessly to gozaru ending sentences. 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 contraction of degozaru [でござる]. Or by people who want to imitate samurai.

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

Gozaimasu e Gozaru - O que realmente significa

Using the expression gozaimasu

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

EnglishJaponêsRomaji
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 o nozomi no kata wagozaimasuka.
This is an operator.交換台でございますKōkandai degozaimasu
Do you have any 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。O 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.
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