Can the honorific o be used in front of all nouns? I was thinking of sentence structures and wondering if o could be placed in front of all nouns. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


The Ministry of Education's guidance is (or used to be) that honorific prefixes should only be used where their usage was well-established by custom, and that as a rule お should be used before Japanese words and ご(御) before "kango" (Chinese or Chinese-style words). Thus, おさけ and おはし(お箸) but ご主人 and ご本人. Honorific prefixes shouldn't be used before 外来語 (non-Chinese foreign imports). I seem to remember that they particularly disapproved of おビール and おコーヒー. But you will hear this rule disregarded ten times (well, maybe twice) a day. The best advice is :listen to the usage of native-speakers whose Japanese you are happy to take as a model and follow their example.

  • I know you didn't explicitly say otherwise, but just wanted to point out that both お and ご are written as 御 in kanji.
    – Leebo
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 23:43
  • 1
    True. Thanks for the comment, Leebo - it's made my day to know my humble contribution is still being read! Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 8:32

No. It really depends upon the word. There are some words which typically don't use the honorific 'o' , but can use it. Others would sound strange or be plain wrong. Good luck.

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