From what I understand from listening to anime, both mean I'm hungry. But when do I use them properly? Is one more formal/polite than the other? Or is neither of them polite/formal enough?

In addition, how do I inform the other party that "I'm hungry let's go eat" politely?


To me, "お腹が空いた" sounds normal and polite as compared with "腹が減った," which sounds informal and sometimes vulgar, depending on the situation.

When you are taking a walk with your friend in downtown, say Asakusa, you may say "腹が減ったな。めしを食おう." But when you are taking a walk with your teacher or senpai, you may say "先生 (先輩)、お腹が空きましたね。何か食べて行きましょう."

We have a saying, "お里が知れる - One's birthplace is revealed," meaning "You can tell what class somebody belongs to from how he / she talks and behaves." 

It'd be better not to say "腹へった" to others, unless they're your very close friends.

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It's better to only use 「腹が減った」 if you're speaking in all-male company, and to say 「お腹すいた」 (or it's polite ます form if needed) otherwise.

I remember the times when I said 「みんなさん腹減ってない?」 to a group of Japanese students, and they all laughed. It's apparently was a 失礼.

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  • 3
    Also, they probably expected みなさん rather than みんなさん. – snailplane Sep 18 '16 at 14:48
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    「みなさんおなかすいてませんか」か「みんなはらへってない?」なら笑われなかったかも・・ – Chocolate Sep 18 '16 at 15:03

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