Ojisan-no adobaisu-no okage-de, shūshoku-ga kimarimashita. (Uncle, thanks to your advice, I could get the job.)

Situation 1: Akihiko visits his uncle Mr. Okubo who recommended he contact a company for a job.

明彦: おじさんのアドバイスのおかげで、就職が決まりました。ありがとうございます。

大久保: いやいや、明彦ががんばったからだよ。これからも、がんばりなさい。

Akihiko: Ojisan-no adobaisu-no okage-de, shūshoku-ga kimarimashita. Arigatō-gozaimasu.

Okubo: Iyaiya, Akihiko-ga ganbatta-kara-dayo. Korekara-mo, ganbarinasai.

Akihiko: Uncle, thanks to your advice, I could get the job. Thank you so much.

Okubo: Not at all. It’s because you tried your best. Please continue to try your best.

Last week, we introduced how to use せい to express the cause of something (especially something bad) in negative way. Today, we will introduce how to use its antonym おかげ (owing to). The pattern X(person, thing, phrase or clause)おかげでY(phrase or clause) shows that X is the cause of Y (in this case, Y is a good result), and expresses the speaker’s feeling of gratefulness. Since おかげ is a noun, X is the noun-modifying form of a noun (i.e., Nの), that of adjective or verb, or a noun-modifying phrase, as in Akihiko’s sentence in Situation 1. There is an idiom that uses this (おかげさまで) to express gratitude. Some learners may say 先生(せんせい)のおかげさまで in order to be polite, but this is incorrect. おかげさまで should not be used when a noun-modifier is placed before it. It is not used to in relation to luckiness, God, those who helped you, surrounding people, society, etc. Example: おかげさまで、元気(げんき)です (Thanks to God, I’m fine). To emphasize X, the pattern YはXおかげ is used as in: 就職(しゅうしょく)できたのは、おじさんのアドバイスのおかげです (Thanks to my uncle’s advice, I was able to get this job).

Situation 2: Mr. Mita rushes to his office.

三田: 電車が止まっちゃったんだよ。おかげで、大事な会議に遅刻だ。

グレイ: ぼやいてないで、早く会議に行ったほうがいいんじゃない?

Mita: Densha-ga tomatchatta-n-dayo. Okage-de, daijina kaigi-ni chikoku-da.

Gray: Boyaite-naide, hayaku kaigi-ni itta hō-ga ii-n-ja nai?

Mita: I’m late for an important meeting because the train stopped.

Gray: Maybe you should run to the meeting rather than complaining about it here.

おかげ is sometimes used to express the cause of a bad result in an ironic way, instead of せい, as in 電車(でんしゃ)が止(と)まったおかげで、会議(かいぎ)に遅刻(した) (I’m late for an important meeting because the train stopped.). X does not necessarily have to be a noun-modifier but can be an independent sentence, as in Mr. Mita’s in Situation 2. In that case, おかげで can be put at the beginning of the sentence Y, whereas it is impossible in case of せい.

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita talks to his colleague Mr. Sere.

三田: ねえ、明日(あした)合(ごう)コンするから、つきあってよ。

セレ: いやだよ。ぼくは、ゆりがいるから。

三田: わかってるよ。だけど、いっしょに参加(さんか)して、彼女(かのじょ)たちの前(まえ)で、ぼくのいいところをアピールしてほしいんだよ。

セレ: [合コンで] 三田(みた)くんとは、大学(だいがく)時代(じだい)からの親友(しんゆう)なんだ。三田くんはレポートのてつだいとかしてくれて、ぼくが大学を卒業(そつぎょう)できたのは彼のおかげなんだ。あ、ごめん。ぼく、いそぎの仕事(しごと)があるから、会社にもどるね。

セレ: [つぎの日(ひ)] 昨日(きのう)はどうだった? うまくいった?

三田: それが…。セレくんが帰(かえ)ったあと、彼女たち、ぼくにセレくんのことばかり聞(き)くんだ。そのおかげで、話題(わだい)にはこまらなかったけどね! また同(おな)じメンバーで合コンしようって言(い)われたけど、ちょっとねえ。

Mita: Hi Sere. I’m planning to go to a group date tomorrow. Please join us.

Sere: No, I won’t. I have a girlfriend, Yuri.

Mita: Sure, I know. But I’d like you to attend it with me and talk about my good points to the women there.

Sere: (At the group date) Mita and I have been best friends since our university days. He helped me write my reports and I owe it to him that I was able to graduate from university. Oh, sorry, I have to get going, I need to get back to office; I have something urgent I need to attend to.

Sere: (The next day) How was yesterday? Did things go well?

Mita: The opposite — after you left, they only asked me about you. Because of that, I didn’t have to look for topics for our conversation! They wanted to have a group date again with the same members, but (I don’t want to go).

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