Is there a reference that lists words whose honorific and/or humble forms are suppletive?

  • For nouns, I am supposing that 父親, 父, and お父さん are different forms of a single noun differing only with respect to honorification.
  • For verbs, there are rules to create the honorific form, but some verbs are irregular. For example, the honorific and the humble forms of 食べる are 召し上がる and いただく, respectively. Another example is 知ります with ご存知です as the honorific and 存じております as the humble form.

How can I know whether a verb or noun is regular or it uses suppletion?

  • 2
    The question is unclear to me. Neither 父親 nor 父 is a 敬語. Jun 4, 2012 at 11:19
  • Is there a connection between 人, 方 and 者? I was refering to this Wikipedia article about 敬語
    – buskila
    Jun 4, 2012 at 12:36
  • Please elaborate a little... Jun 5, 2012 at 2:02
  • 2
    @TsuyoshiIto I think the OP wants triplets of neutral-word/謙譲語/尊敬語. I don't know if 父 is 謙譲語 strictly speaking, but I can see that you can regard it as such, since it is the most appropriate way to reference your own father (私の父)
    – dainichi
    Jun 5, 2012 at 6:37
  • @dainichi: Ah, now the question started to make sense. Thanks! Unfortunately, I do not know such a list. Jun 6, 2012 at 0:34

1 Answer 1


I do not think that this is an exhaustive list, but this is what I've managed to find so far. (I shall use "H" to denote "Honorific" and "h" to denote "humble"):

  • する

    • なさる (H)
    • 致す (h)
  • 行く

    • いらっしゃる/おいでになる (H)
    • 参る (h)
  • 来る

    • いらっしゃる/おいでになる (H)
    • 参る (h)
  • いる

    • いらっしゃる/おいでになる (H)
    • おる (h)
  • 見る

    • ご覧になる (H)
    • 拝見する (h)
  • 聞く

    • 伺う (h)
  • 言う

    • おっしゃる (H)
    • 申す/申し上げる (h)
  • あげる

    • 差し上げる (h)
  • くれる

    • 下さる (H)
  • もらう

    • いただく (h)
  • 食べる

    • 召し上がる (H)
    • いただく (h)
  • 知っている

    • ご存知です (H)
    • 存じる (h)
  • 会社

    • 弊社 (h)

Also related is the difference in addressing members of one's family as compared to members of another's family.

To summarise from the site in the link above, generally さん is used to address another's family except for "irregular" terms (cannot be obtained by adding or removing さん from the analogous term):

  • Own's family

    • Father: 父 (ちち)
    • Mother: 母 (はは)
    • Elder Brother: 兄 (あに)
    • Elder Sister: 姉 (あね)
    • Grandfather: 祖父 (そふ)
    • Grandmother: 祖母 (そぼ)
    • Husband: 夫 (おっと)
    • Wife: 妻 (つま)
  • Other's family

    • Husband: ご主人 (ごしゅじん)
    • Wife: 奥さん (おくさん)
    • Daughter: お嬢さん (おじょうさん)

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