I should preface this by saying that I myself am fairly young (a teenager) and speak primarily to other young people (while I may not know their exact age, it's safe to assume the other people I speak to are either teenagers themselves or adults slightly older than me who have not stated their age). I use Twitter as a platform to speak to Japanese people, and generally in replying to their posts I am talking about media, art, etc. and am not trying to say anything particularly meaningful. That said, which is the proper way to speak under these circumstances-- formally or informally? Most of these people are not ones with whom I'd spoken to privately before, but because of how communication online is facilitated I am a little shaky on whether speaking formally would come across as excessive or whether speaking informally would come off as rude. I see replies to Tweets in Japanese in both formal and informal form, so is it just a matter of choice?

Tl;dr use of formal/informal conjugation in online interactions in Japanese seems inconsistent to me, so I'm not sure which I should use.

In response to a post like "最近僕は描くことを考えるときに悲しくてなる", would it be better to reply "[name]さんの絵が本当に大好きだよ!" or "[name]さんの絵が本当に好きです。"

  • 1
    quick, but not comprehensive answer: if you both belong to the same generation (which is Gen Z) and they use informal conjugation, then do the same.
    – rebuuilt
    May 29, 2020 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


The poster has used 僕 (boku) which is a fairly informal way of referring to oneself as a young person so I think "[name]さんの絵が本当に大好きだよ!" would be acceptable and the よ at the end makes you sound quite emphatic that you like that picture. If you just want to be a bit more reserved in your praise then "[name]さんの絵が本当に好きです。" expresses that you like the picture but it's a bit less enthusiastic.

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    The vice principal at my school uses 僕 at work, and that wouldn't make it okay for me to use plain form with him. The point being that 僕 alone doesn't really tell you much.
    – Leebo
    Jun 24, 2021 at 22:14

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