Translation for 残念

I keep translating this as ‘nevermind’ which feels the same to me as too bad but is obviously not listed as a synonym

Is it equivalent? Can anyone help me with use of 残念?

I can’t really think of a time where I would use this to mean “nevermind”. Could you give an example of how you think nevermind & too bad would be similar?

Now that im thinking about it maybe im confused because too bad and nevermind come togeyher often. Like you miss a bus you’d say aww that’s too bad but nevermind. Maybe they aren’t equivilent then even thoigh I use them in the same instance?

To me, “too bad” gives the sense of having tried something, but ended up failing, whereas “nevermind” is more that you had the intention to do something, but something happened preventing that.

You lost a championship match? Too bad.
You were about to go out, but it’s raining? Nevermind.

I’m sure they are interchangeable in many situations, but there’s an important difference. “too bad” is also inherently negative, whereas “nevermind” is neutral.

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Japanese Ammo explains “残念” as the thing you would say to someone if they inform you that someone close to them has died for example. You wouldn’t say “ごめんなさい” or “すみません” since that makes it sound like they died because of you. 残念 does not translate as “nevermind” at all in this context so maybe think of that when you review it next time. Hope it helps a little bit.

Other examples:
While it’s unfortunate, a lot of work came in and it became so that I can’t go today.

It’s a shame there is no other way.

It is too bad that you couldn’t come.


You… have a rather odd way of comforting someone.


Yes, it’s easy to associate one idiom in English with another one that’s used in similar situations. I’m often left scratching my head wondering if my added synonyms are correct or a stretch.

In this case, I’d concur with others that “Never mind” (Nevermind is the name of an album by Nirvana) isn’t the same as 残念 which is really used more to mean “that’s a shame” or “what a pity” or in less grave situations, “too bad!” In more polite situations, the speaker would say, 残念ですね.

When Japanese people want to say “don’t worry about it” (as in, it’s going to be okay) they use ドンマイ, which is supposed to be from English “don’t mind” but we obviously don’t use “don’t mind” that way.

So you could see it being used in addition to 残念, but it’s expressing a different idea.

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I think the lesson here is don’t rely on strict translations. That will only screw you up later when you find out something has a totally different meaning than you originally thought. Try to always learn words with context sentences to back them up.

For me:
That’s too bad = that’s unfortunate → definitely 残念
Never mind = put it behind you, it’s not worth worrying about


Thanks everyone, this has really helped :slight_smile: I think for me ‘too bad’ isn’t a very strong phrase so that’s why Im attaching a never mind here. But it sounds like 残念 is closer to how id use ‘Thats a shame’ so ill try to think of it like that (and hopefully see it more in context)

Im wondering if the difference is a cultural thing? Im a brit and ‘too bad’ sounds a bit sarcastic to me and to use it for a serious misfortune feels rude!


This is one of those words that’s best translated into the type of word you’d ordinarily use in the same situation, rather than parroting the dictionary definition. So yes, “too bad” or “that’s a shame” or “that’s unfortunate” or “I’m sorry to hear that” all work perfectly well.

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Yeah exactly! So better to ask before I internalise it wrong! (which I have been doing with never mind! oops!)

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