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Q. What is the difference between "Arigatou gozaimasu" and "Arigatou gozaimashita"?

A. "Gozaimasu (ございます)" is used to make some phrases polite.

Arigatou. (informal)
ありがとう。
Thank you.
Arigatou gozaimasu. (formal)
ありがとうございます。
Ohayou. (informal)
おはよう。
Good Morning.
Ohayou gozaimasu. (formal)
おはようございます。

When talking to your social superior, "gozaimasu" should be added.

"~mashita" is the past tense of the verb. Click here to learn more about verbs.

  Present Past
to go ikimasu
行きます
ikimashita
行きました
to eat tabemasu
食べます
tabemashita
食べました

If something that has already been done for you, "Arigatou gozaimashita (ありがとうございました)" can be used. It is often used by clerks at the store, or an office in the service industry. "Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます)" is a general way of saying "Thank you". It can be used for either something that will be done or something that has been done. 

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