First time posting here.

I have a question that have been bothering me for quite a while. I wonder how to use the personal pronouns (僕/俺 & お前/きみ/あなた) in a conversation with different "ranked" people. In the same conversation.

Let me put it in a made up example, and let's just say I am talking to my best friend (which to whom I would use 俺 for myself and お前 to my friend) and a teacher that we both respect (which to whom I would use 僕 for myself and あなた[or his/her name] to the teacher). Can the japanese pronouns be mixed depending on who you are talking to in the one conversation or should I just stick to the formal pronouns?

I know that you can skip the formal verb and sentence endings when talking to the friend but should I also stick to one pronoun instead of changing back and forth?

Hope I didn't make the question too complicated and thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


I believe it is never wrong to be too respectful. Thus, if it was me I would stick to the more humble first-person pronouns to both your friend and your teacher, i.e. I'd address myself as 僕 or 自分. I think it is fine to call your friend 君{きみ} if you are obviously talking to your friend in a sentence, and address your teacher by 〇〇先生, but I'd avoid using お前 at all if a teacher is present (might sound a bit too rude). I'm not totally sure about this, and this is just what I think what I would do in this situation.

  • For the most part I agree. If it's a close relationship with the teacher though, you could call your friend お前 in front of the teacher. But strictly speaking, you shouldn't.
    – user19929
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 7:53

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