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My online language class taught us how to reply with our age(s) in a sentence. We were also told that you could reply with "naisho" meaning secret if you weren't going to provide your age. However, I've not seen anywhere that uses this term in a sentence. How do say this correctly in Japanese and not just use a one word response of naisho? Such as "my age is a secret."

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  • Have you tried to look up naisho (内緒) on a dictionary or online?
    – Marco
    Jan 28, 2019 at 4:54
  • I see what the word means, but would like to know how it would be used in a sentence, specifically "my age is a secret."
    – Dan
    Jan 28, 2019 at 5:24
  • @Dan If you're not aware, there are online dictionaries that will provide sample sentences. jisho.org/search/%E5%86%85%E7%B7%92%20%23sentence
    – Keiki
    Jan 28, 2019 at 13:46
  • That's a great site, was not aware of such a dictionary.
    – Dan
    Jan 31, 2019 at 0:59

1 Answer 1

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内緒【ないしょ】 (naisho) functions as a simple noun (although it also works as a so-called "no-adjective"). You already know how to say "This is a pen" or "I am a student" in Japanese, right? Then you can employ the exact same grammar.

私【わたし】の年【とし】は内緒【ないしょ】です。
My age is a secret.

This is the "full" sentence, but people usually do not bother to repeat the topic (私の年) when it has been already clearly indicated in the previous question:

内緒です。
(It's) a secret.

And in casual speech, です is often omitted. So actually a one-word response is not bad in this case:

内緒。
(It's) a secret.

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    Why 内緒 and not 秘密(ひみつ)? Is it just a matter of usage? There's Are there differences in nuance and usage of 内緒, 秘密 and "Please keep it a naisho because it is a himitsu." (google), but I don't feel like I understand the difference and/or appropriateness.
    – Pablo H
    Jan 28, 2019 at 14:01
  • The 内 in 内緒 makes me think that it's more like saying "that doesn't concern you" rather than it being a "hush hush no-one must know" kind of thing, for which 秘密 would be more appropriate.
    – Valdimar
    Jan 28, 2019 at 15:00
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    @PabloH Because the asker wanted to know how to use 内緒 :) In this case they're interchangeable. Basically 内緒 is only for personal secrets regarding one's privacy. You can say ピラミッドの秘密 but not ピラミッドの内緒 or such.
    – naruto
    Jan 28, 2019 at 20:08
  • Upon the initial posting, wasn't expecting any feedback whatsoever, certainly didn't expect it to be so constructive. Thank you to all the input, it's been very helpful!
    – Dan
    Feb 10, 2019 at 21:56

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