How to Speak Japanese

10 Ways of Saying “I’m late” in Japanese

A woman having overslpt herself

One of the famous (notorious?) Japanese cultures is to be punctual. In fact, if you are even 1 minute late, you may make people angry in Japan. Thus, you should know “I’m late” in Japanese. Let’s learn together.

10 Phrases: How to say “I’m late” in Japanese

When you are late

すみません、おそくなりました。
I’m sorry for being late.
たせしてすみませんでした。
I am sorry to have kept you waiting.

When you are going to be late

In Japan, being punctual is considered to be a criterion for determining whether you are dependable. Therefore, people usually inform their situation beforehand as below.

すみません、10じゅっぷんおくれます。
Sorry, I’m going to be 10 minutes late.
すみません、じゅうたいしていて30さんじゅっぷんぐらいおくれます。
Sorry, I’m going to be about 30 minutes late. I’m stuck in a traffic jam.
あと20にじゅっぷんきます。
I will be there in 20 minutes.
すみません、ぼうしました。いますぐきます。
Sorry, I have overslept. I will go immediately.

When you may be late

すみません、ふんほどおくれるかもしれません。
Sorry, I may be about 5 minutes late.
電車でんしゃおくれていて、10じゅっぷんぐらいおくれるかもしれません。
I may be about 10 minutes late. The train is delayed. 
すみません、おくれそうです。
Sorry, it’s likely that I will be late.
ちょうどにくか、すこおくれそうです。
It’s likely that I will be just on time or a little late.

Conclusion

In Japan, being on time is actually not enough. In the workplace, we are required to arrive at 10 minutes earlier than scheduled time. Is it difficult for you? If so, please make sure to remember the above phrases!

Recommended Links

Japanese Greetings: 30 Phrases You Need to Know

15 Phrases: How to Say “You’re Welcome” in Japanese

25 Phrases: How to Say “Thank You” in Japanese

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