I know that there are many differences between male and female speech, but my question is about plain form. Women use prefixes o- and go- more often than men. Is it true also in plain form?

For example, sometimes men say 肉 in colloquial speech, but can also women say 肉, or do they have to use お肉?

1 Answer 1


Whether to use お/ご, choosing between the plain/polite distinction (だ vs です), and so-called male/female speech are three distinct concepts, while they are loosely related. While it's true that those who tend to use feminine language also often use お/ご, it is not a rule.

There is a considerable misunderstanding among learners, but the so-called "women's language" or "men's language" in Japanese are just two of many role-based language styles. Please remember that Japanese is a language where 5 different members of a family (at least in fiction) may have 5 different ways of saying "I'm hungry". There is no rule that dictates "all women must speak in this way". The choice between 肉 and お肉 is like the choice between child and kid in English; it has little to do with the speaker's gender. Rather, it relates to how formal or friendly the speaker needs to be.


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