They say that conversation is a two-way street. You gotta’ know how to talk to people and ask them questions, but it’s also important to be able to listen to what they have to say and then give your own replies. To that end, what is I’m fine in Japanese?
This is a response that you’re going to want to know for several different situations that you may find yourself in at some point. I’ve divided them into the below four and provided a different Japanese way of answering for each.
Let’s take a look at the context of the situation that each one can be used in and then see the actual phrase.
1. 大丈夫だ (daijoubu da)
The first situation is when a person might be in some sort of danger. It could be a health danger such as an illness that has them laid up in bed or it could be a situational danger such as being attacked by an animal.
I’ve also heard it used when a person takes a bit of something and then starts choking on it.
In any of those cases, a common way that people ask “are you alright?” would center around the word 大丈夫.
- daijoubu desu ka?
- Are you okay?
What’s pretty cool about the Japanese language is that a lot of times you can just repeat back the question word in the affirmative as a reply.
That is the first way to tell someone that you are doing alright, by confirming this same word in your response.
- daijoubu da.
- I’m fine.
This word is so commonly used that it’s actually pretty common to hear it without the ending “to be” verb of だ or です for both the question and the answer.
Typically, guys will still add on the か question particle to sound more masculine as 大丈夫か whereas a lot of women will just use the word 大丈夫 with a rising intonation on the final syllable to make it inquisitive.
2. もういいよ (mou ii yo)
This next phrase is actually a pretty common one that gets used in a lot of different contexts, but for today’s lesson I’m only going to focus on the one that fits in with our theme.
We’ve got a couple of words in this phrase that I want to look at. The first is もう which translates as “already; yet” into English.
This is a pretty good way to understand the word, but it doesn’t quite capture the Japanese word’s true meaning.
The word もう “indicates that something is not in the same state as it was before” (Japanese in MangaLand, Vol. 2).
What this means is that if you were hungry before, but then you ate food and now are no longer hungry, then もう could be used to say something like “I’m already full.”
Keep that in mind as we get to the full phrase. Right now, let’s take a look at the second word.
This other word いい means “good; fine” and can refer to any number of things such as your mental well-being, your physical state, or the condition of a situation.
So when we put these two words together as もういいよ what we are literally saying is that we weren’t good before, but something happened and now we are fine. The よ particle on the end adds emphasis to this statement, but you could replace it with です if you wanted to be polite.
Let’s say for example that you are eating at a restaurant (because you were hungry) and you’ve finished both your meal and your drink.
The waitress comes by and asks if you would like any dessert to eat, but you are stuffed from the big lunch.
- mou ii desu.
- I’m fine (I’ve eaten enough food).
The next phrase is similar in usage, so let’s take a look at it now.
3. 結構です (kekkou desu)
Like many of the words we are going over today, this one has various meanings depending on how it is used by the speaker.
But one way that it can be thought of is as a form of saying “no thank you” to someone’s offer.
Perhaps you come into a person’s house to visit and they offer to get you a drink, you are not thirsty so you politely decline.
- kekkou desu.
- I’m fine (no thank you).
You will probably use this phrase most often when turning down food or drinks, but it can also be used in other situations.
The thing to keep in mind is that this phrase is a polite refusal or denial (biz.trans-suite.jp), so if you’re in a formal situation where you need to make a good first impression on someone, like meeting the parents or during a business meeting, then it might actually be better to just accept whatever they offer.
That being said, it’s perfectly fine to use when you are the customer or when you’re among friends.
4. 平気 (heiki)
Now we get to the last word on our list.
Our usages of it is really restricted to just casual or conversational language and it means things like “fine; all right” when translated into English.
If you’re a female, then it’s pretty typical to say the word twice to emphasize it.
- heiki, heiki!
- I’m fine!
If you’re a guy, it’s more common to say the word once and add on だ to the end to sound assertive, as in 平気だ.
This word is generally used in situations where you are calm and not bothered by something. Let say that your friend sees a snake slithering up your arm when you two are hanging out in your room and your friend starts freaking out.
You might reply with this phrase letting them know that you’re fine and everything is alright because it’s your pet snake, and it’s totally harmless.
That’s all I’ve got for today’s lesson. You should have a few different options available to you whenever you need to tell someone that you are doing alright.
If you’ve got any questions or comments related to the topic at hand, then by all means write them in the section below and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.
Thanks for reading!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: