Why is it ok to say both 英語教師 and 英語の教師 but not 英語先生, just 英語の先生?


1 Answer 1


An interesting question. It's actually a peculiar feature of the word 先生.

It may sound confusing, but 先生 does not literally mean "teacher" even though it is the most basic word for it today. It is an honorific title addressing a learned person, like "sir", "master", "honorable" etc.


For this reason, 先生 can only stand for "teacher" when it is used alone, and if attached to other nouns, it becomes a form of address.

英語教師 English teacher
英語先生 Mr./Ms. English

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