Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I read this line in a blog today:


and I have two questions:

1) I know that the writer can use katakana for emphasis or for some other reason, but why is it mixed like this? Is the honorific in this case? It seems that おすすめ and すすめ have roughly the same meaning, but I really don't know the difference.

2) Can you write the honorific prefix in katakana オ in some cases? I wonder if you cannot, then that is why it was written this way.

share|improve this question
Regarding your 3rd (edited out) question: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/14618/shop-or-shop-owner/… – Ash May 4 '14 at 13:20
@Ash I got it, thanks! – user3169 May 4 '14 at 19:42

1) Yes, the お is an honorific but it cannot be dropped in this case.  We just never say ススメ[品]{ひん}.

Since this is fairly informal writing, the author is "granted" the stylistic choices that are not allowed in formal writing.

The word could have been written お勧め、おすすめ、オススメ、おススメ, etc. but the author apparently thought おススメ would fit best. As an average Japanese-speaker, I have no problem with this choice --- none. It looks nice and light. Point is that it would NOT make the author look one bit more educated or sofisticated if s/he opted for お勧め or お薦め.

2)Yes. As I stated above, オススメ is totally natural and acceptable in informal writing. In formal writing, however, it is out of the question.

share|improve this answer
I see... I can understand the difference kanji vs. kana, but why so many kana version (おすすめ、オススメ、おススメ)? Is there any point to it, or is it just to keep things interesting? – user3169 May 4 '14 at 5:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.