How “shikata nai” and “shouganai” are used in a conversation

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In English, both ‘shikata nai しかたない’ and ‘shouganai しょうがない’  means  “can’t be helped”. The usage of these two forms are pretty much the same, so they’re interchangeable in a conversation.

“Can you help me study for the test please?”

Ashita tesuto no benkyou o tetsudatte kuremasenka? Onegaishimasu!

明日テストの勉強を手伝ってくれませんか?お願いします!

“Geez, can’t be helped, fine. Just this time.”

Mooo, shouganai na. Konkai dake dayo.

もう、しょうがないな。今回だけだよ。

Mom, I want to eat an ice-cream. Would you like to buy me one?

Mama, Aisukuri-mu o tabetai! kattekureru?

まま、アイスクリームを食べたい!買ってくれる?

Oww, sure!

shou ga naina!

しょうがないな!

However, ‘Shikata nai しかたない’ is the shortened casual conversation form of “Shikata ga arimasen しかたがありません’. So, on formal occasions ‘shikata ga nai’ or the more formal ‘shikata ga arimasen’ is more suitable than ‘shouganai’.

The Level of politeness(descending):

Shikata ga gozaimasen

しかたがございません

Shikata ga arimasen

しかたがありません

Shikata ga nai

しかたがない

Shou ga nai

しょうがない

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