If I'm having a conversation with someone in which I am using the polite form of verbs, should I also use the -masu form if I'm describing something I do or did? If I'm saying, for example, 私は午前八時に起きる, should that be 起きます? Or does it sound stuck-up?

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    Sidenote: 起きます, not 起きります Jul 14, 2019 at 18:30
  • Whoops, yup. Ichidan verb not godan. >_< Jul 14, 2019 at 19:42
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    Why do you think it might be inappropriate use the -masu form in reference to your own actions? It sounds like maybe you are conflating polite speech with honorific speech. If so, henreetee's answer to this earlier question might be helpful, in addition to the answer he has written to your question: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/68970/…
    – Nanigashi
    Jul 14, 2019 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


At the very simplest level, regardless of whether talking about your own or others' actions, it is best to stick to ます・です style if you want to be polite.

It does not sound stuck up if the politeness is appropriate, but it might sound distant (so, potentially aloof/stuck up as a result?) if you (continually) use it when speaking to friends.

That said, it is not uncommon to have style-shift within a conversation, which is lucidly explained, in brief, here: Can polite and casual Japanese be combined?.

As is often the case with how one's words come across, it will partly depend on the manner of speaking (speed, stress, word choice, etc.), and non-verbal elements (body language, gestures, etc). I can imagine saying something in polite-form might enhance sounding stuck up in certain circumstances, but those other factors will really be key, I think.

  • Got it! Thank you! Your answer linked above to Stephan's question was also very useful. :-) Jul 15, 2019 at 10:36
  • Very welcome :)
    – henreetee
    Jul 16, 2019 at 9:58

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