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!


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 Feb 21 '17 at 7:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.