Random Acts of Kindness

Did you know February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day? Make someone smile by using some of these phrases in the language you’re learning.


  • ¡Que pase un buen día! Have a nice day!
  • ¡Cuídese! Take care!
  • ¡Qué lo pase bien! Have a good one!
  • ¡Buen viaje! Safe travels!
  • ¡Recupérese pronto! Get well soon!
  • ¿Puedo ayudarle? Can I help you?
  • ¡Me alegro de verte! Nice to see you!


  • Per favore / Per piacere  (please)
  • Grazie  (thanks)
  • Prego  (you are welcome)
  • Che gentile!  (how kind of you!)
  • Ben educato  (well mannered – note that educato is a false friend, education is istruzione)



  • 你好 nǐ hǎo (Hello)
  • 最近好吗? zuì jìn hǎo mā? (How have you been?)
  • 很高兴见到你 hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ (So nice to see you)
  • 好久不见 hǎo jiǔ bú jiàn  (It has been a long time)
  • 请 qǐng (Please)
  • 谢 谢 xiè xiè (Thank you)
  • 对不起 duì bù qǐ  (I’m sorry/Excuse me)



  • Je suis désolé. (I am sorry)
  • Vous permettez ? (May I/do you mind?)
  • Après vous ! (After you!)
  • Merci de votre aide. (Thank you for your help.)
  • Vous êtes très gentil/aimable. (You are very nice/kind.)


Below are some words and phrases related to gestes de gentillesse (acts of kindness):


  • Être gentil avec quelqu’un (to be nice with someone)
  • Envoyer une carte de voeux (to send a greeting/wishing card)
  • Faire un calin à quelqu’un (give somebody a cuddle)
  • Souhaiter bonne chance à quelqu’un (to wish someone good luck)
  • Aider une personne âgée à traverser la rue (to help a senior citizen cross the street)
  • Donner/tendre la main à quelqu’un (to hold out one’s hand to somebody)
  • Offrir des fleurs à quelqu’un (to offer flowers to somebody)



Courtesy is important no matter what country or culture you’re in. The Middle East is no exception when it comes to certain phrases that have become vital for everyday conversation.
Some courtesy phrases which are vital for your conversation in Arabic are:


  • من فضلك، لو سمحت (min faDlik, law samaHt): please, would you please
  • شُكراً (shukran): thank you
  • عفواً (xafwan): you’re welcome
  • آسِف (‘aasif): sorry
  • نَعَم (naxam): yes
  • لا (laa): No




  • ありがとうございます。Arigatoo gozaimasu. “Thank you.”
  • ありがとうございました。Arigatoo gozaimashita.  “Thank you.”


This phrase has the past tense ending. Use it when you want to thank for some favor that has been done to you. For example, you can say it to your teacher at the end of your Japanese class; to your host when you leave a house party.

  • ごめんなさい。Gomennasai. “I’m sorry.”
  • すみません。Sumimasen. “Excuse me”, “I’m sorry”, “Thank you.”


This phrase is very versatile! Say it quickly and lightly and it will mean, “Excuse me”. Say it slowly and sincerely and it will mean, “I’m sorry”. Say it with a big smile and it will mean, “Thank you”; how is it different from ありがとうございます Arigatoo gozaimasu? すみません sumimasen is used when the speaker especially appreciates the sacrifice and efforts made for him/her.


  • どうぞ Doozo. “Please.”


Use this expression when you offer something to somebody.


  • お願いします。Onegaishimasu. “Please.”


Use this expression when you accept a favor from somebody, such as “Would you like some coffee?”. You can also use this when you ask somebody a favor.


  • 大丈夫です。Daijoobu desu. “I’m okay.”


You can use this when somebody asks you, 大丈夫ですか Daijoobu desu  ka (“Are you okay?”). But you can also say it when you mean, “No, thank you.”


  • 失礼します。Shitsureeshimasu.   Literal translation: “I’m being rude.”


Don’t worry too much about what it literally means. Native speakers don’t really think about it either!  What is important is to know “when” to use. Use it when you enter somebody’s room or residence. Also use it before you hang up a phone. It is a very polite expression and you’ll give a very good impression if you use it!

Contributors: Anna, Max, Khung, Sev, Hkebbe, Sakura
Photo Credit: Thinkstock