I'd like to ask you a question about this honorific form. I will give an example as detailed as possible to make this question clear.

The verb yomu is often used in passive form to show respect:

先生が新聞を読まれました - the addressee is not teacher, so is the passive form with the plain ending is used

先生、新聞を読まれましたか。 - the addressee is the adressess, so the passive form with the polite ending is used.

This honorific form compete with others such お読みになる (Honorific prefix + Renyoukei verbal stem + NI NARU). That is why I would like to know for which verbs, the passive honorific form is preferred to the Honorific prefix + Renyou verb + NI NARU

  • If you didn't already, it might be worth reading through the other questions, which ask about this difference.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 15:33
  • Hello, @valerie! I made some small formatting and spelling changes to make your question easier to read. I wasn't able to figure out what adressess meant, however, so I left that word unchanged. If you can clarify what you meant by adressess, I think it might help answerers understand the question.
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 16:57
  • Hello I meant "Addressee" "Hearer" 聞き手. I am sorry for this mistake for absentmindedness. Fortunately people managed to understand me
    – valerie
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


I don't know if this answers your question but... there you go:

  • 先生が新聞を お読みになり ました。vs 先生が新聞を 読まれ ました。
  • 先生、新聞を お読みになり ましたか。vs 先生、新聞を 読まれ ましたか。

Dictionary form - れる/られる form - お/ご~~になる form
読む - 読まれる - お読みになる
する - される - なさる (×おしになる)
なる - なられる - おなりになる
いる - おられる(×いられる)、いらっしゃる (×おいになる)
見る - 見られる - ご覧になる (×お見になる)
言う - 言われる、おっしゃる (×お言いになる)
行く - 行かれる、いらっしゃる (△?お行きになる)
来る - 来られる、いらっしゃる - おいでになる、お越しになる、お見えになる、見える (×お来になる)
食べる - 食べられる - お食べになる、召し上がる、お召し上がりになる
座る - 座られる - お座りになる
掛ける - 掛けられる - お掛けになる
知る - (×知られる) - ご存じ(だ/です) (×ご存じになる)
買う - 買われる - お求めになる、お買い求めになる etc. depending on the situation (△?お買いになる)

To me, the お~~になる form sounds politer and more formal than the れる/られる form. I think we use the れる/られる honorific form more often than the お~~になる form in daily conversation. Examples:

  • お嬢さん、もう高校生に なられ たんですね。 Your daughter has become a high school student. (-- おなりになった is possible but not so common)
  • あそこのおじいさん、去年 亡くなられ たそうですよ。 I hear their grandfather passed away last year. (-- more politely, お亡くなりになった)
  • きのうのニュース、 見られ ました? Did you see the news yesterday? (-- more politely, ご[覧]{らん}になりました)
  • あそこの新しいパン屋さん、もう 行かれ ました? Have you been to the new bakery? (-- お行きになった sounds awkward to me...)

I think students generally use the れる/られる form for their teachers/professors (I used ~~(し)はる because I was in Kyoto), but I don't think they use お~~になる form so often, at least when talking. I think we use both when we write, choosing the お~~になる form when we want to sound politer. Examples:

  • 先生、土曜日は学校に 来られ ますか? Sensei, will you come to school on Saturday? (-- いらっしゃいますか would sound politer. おいでになりますか sounds even politer.)
  • 山田先生は[出張]{しゅっちょう}に 行かれ ているので、[授業]{じゅぎょう}は[休講]{きゅうこう}です。 Mr. Yamada is away on business today so his class is cancelled. (-- 行っておられる is possible too. 行っていらっしゃる is politer. お行きになっている sounds awkward to me.)

You might hear/read the お~~になる/ご~~になる form used quite often at shops or in business situations when you're a customer/client. They might also use the れる/られる form though, especially when talking. Examples:

  • お[客様]{きゃくさま}が お掛けになっ た[電話番号]{でんわばんごう}は、[現在]{げんざい}使われておりません。 The number you have dialed is not in service. (-- [掛]{か}けられた might not be polite enough here)
  • こちらに お掛けになっ て、お待ちください。 Please have a seat and wait here. (-- 掛けられて/座られて would also be okay but might not be polite enough depending on the situation.)

You might also hear お/ご~~くださる (くださる is the honorific form of くれる), お/ご~~いただく (いただく is the humble form for もらう) and お/ご~~(だ/です). Examples:

  • ご来店いただき まして、ありがとうございます。Thank you for shopping.
  • このたびは[当社製品]{とうしゃせいひん}を ご購入いただき / お選びいただき / お買い求めいただき、[誠]{まこと}にありがとうございました。 Thank you for purchasing our product.
  • さきほど、一階、[催]{もよお}し[物]{もの}コーナーにて、[学習机]{がくしゅうづくえ}を お求めの / お求めいただきました [山田様]{やまださま}、お近くのレジまで ご連絡ください / お越しください ませ。Ms Yamada, who has purchased a writing desk on the first floor, please contact us at the nearest counter.
  • 「京都、と、59-63」の黒色のプリウスで お越しの お客様、・・・。 To the owner of the black Prius with the license plate blah blah, ...
  • この[番組]{ばんぐみ}は、ご覧の スポンサーの[提供]{ていきょう}でお送りしました。 This program was sponsored by ~~.
  • I think the question was "Which of 「先生、新聞を読まれましたか」 and 「先生が新聞をお読みになりましたか」 is more polite?" (The first being a "honorific passive" as the OP calls it.) Your answer just says "the second sentence might sound even more polite than the first". Maybe you could tell us why, or give a situation in which the second (more polite) option is better. I guess both fall under 敬語?
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 14:42
  • @user1205935 Ahh so the "passive honorific" refers to the honorific in the form of れる as opposed to お~~になる, right? Hmm I think I didn't quite understand the question, then.
    – user1016
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 14:46
  • Thanks for the edit. I think now it answers the question (or at least how I understood it).
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Mar 24, 2013 at 16:55
  • 1
    Bonjour Chocolate . I thank for this detailed answer. I'd like to ask you a question about 食べられる - お食べになる、召し上がる、お召し上がりになる. I have read in a German book for Linguistic that when the suppletive verb exists, it is generally improper the alternative honorific forms. You don't seem to agree with this statement, do you ?
    – valerie
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 1:51
  • 1
    I think that applies to most verbs in general, 食べられる and お食べになる are less polite though they make sense, and the other two are preferred in general, especially when you want to sound politer. 食べられる is used in some situations like, I think students use 食べられる for their teachers when they talk to them or in their presence (I don't think they use the honorifics for their teachers at all when talking with friends), maybe because the other two sound too formal for them. I think they might use 召し上がる for their teachers when they write, eg; in essays that they should hand in to the teachers.
    – user1016
    Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 14:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .