Gomen vs Gomenasai vs Gomen Ne: Meaning & Usage

As I gave an overview of how Gomenasai, Sumimasen, and Suimasen differ in this post, today let me talk about different ways to say “Gomenasai (ごめんなさい)”, that is, “Gomen (ごめん)” and “Gomen Ne (ごめんね)”.

Gomen vs. Gomenasai vs Gomen Ne

Gomen or Gomenasai

As I mentioned the other day, Gomenasai is the polite way to say Gomen. And if you want to express Gomen in a friendly manner, just add “Ne (ね)” to the word and say Gomen-Ne.

These phrases essentially mean the same thing “Sorry” or “I’m sorry”. But these are different from Sumimasen or Suimasen in that they are used to express an apology and beg forgiveness.

Gomenasai (ごめんなさい)

So Gomenasai, also spelled Gomennasai, is used to say Gomen or “Sorry” politely. Children often use this phrase when they have behaved badly. For example,

  • 窓を割ってごめんなさい (Pronunciation) translates to English as “I’m sorry for breaking the window”. Here, the kid is asking for forgiveness.

Gomen Ne (ごめんね)

And Gomen-Ne is used when you want to say Gomen in a friendly way. For example, when I have done wrong to a friend, I would say

  • ごめんね、俺が悪かった (Pronunciation): I’m sorry. That was my fault. 

Gomen (ごめん)

Lastly, the basic form of Gomenasai and Gomen-Ne, Gomen is often used to close friends or to people who are younger than you. For example, when I’m late meeting my friend, I would call him to say

  • ごめん、遅れる (Pronunciation): Sorry, I’m going to be late.

And if my friend made an unreasonable demand of me, I would say

  • ごめん、無理 (Pronunciation): Sorry (No), I can’t do it.

Gomen actually has another usage and can be used when you want to show refusal, like the above and below.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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