I am trying to define the word "deceive". In English, I would say something like this (regardless of whether or not it is a good definition):

To deceive someone means that you lie to someone, and without regard for their well-being, you gain something for yourself.

In Japanese, I would translate from the English to


In English, we have this "you" that does not really refer to a specific person/group. So I can't just replace 君 with a name here. Is an alternative word used in Japanese for definitions (similar to 相手 meaning someone)? If "you" is appropriate, which form of "you" should it be (e.g. 君, あなた, ...)?

If it matters, I am more concerned about how this works in speech, not writing.

  • 2
    Not answering the question directly, but have you considered giving a more dictionary-like gloss that doesn't use first person pronouns unless necessary? Deceive: To lie to someone without regard for their well-being for one's own benefit.
    – dROOOze
    Jul 6, 2018 at 18:55
  • 2
    @droooze My goal is to figure out how to give a definition in speech. A dictionary-like definition is going to be too stiff and formal.
    – Denis Li
    Jul 6, 2018 at 19:03
  • この「君」は,僕には自然に見えますが,日本語として元々自然なのか,英語を学んでから you の語法に基づいて自然と感じるようになったのか,若干自信がない. / 「君」「あなた」は通常の二人称と同様に聞き手との関係によって選べばいいと思います.
    – Yosh
    Jul 7, 2018 at 2:22

2 Answers 2


As a rule of thumb, the most natural Japanese tends to be the version that is implicit rather than grammatically explicit, which is to say: omit any part of speech already implied by its context. Your example is no exception:



You would probably use 人 - that's what Japanese uses for this kind of indefinite reference. (Compare German 'man'.)

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