I would like to know what the subtle differences are between the interrogative pronouns だれ and どなた. Is the latter more subtle or something? What is the exact difference?

Also, how compatible are these pronouns with the pronouns どれ and どちら and どっち, and should the romaji for どっち be "docchi" or "dotchi" (are these the same)?


image of interrogative pronouns from my book

  • 1
    Not sure if dotchi is even acceptable, but docchi is the one you gonna have to use to to write with a keyboard. Oct 27 '16 at 10:07
  • @stackreader I personally write 'dotti'.
    – Angelos
    Nov 20 '16 at 15:06

どなた is much more polite and should mostly be used to ask a person directly who they are.

だれ can be used when asking someone about someone else indirectly, but would be very rude to ask someone directly(to the point of being insulting or starting a fight).


どなた is very polite. 尊敬語. You should say どなたでしょうか? when talking to a person of higher status.

誰 is not polite. It can be used when talking to people of the same or lower status (friends, family etc. ). If someone uses 誰 when talking to someone with higher status, it is very impolite.

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