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 '20 at 23:00

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.

  • 1
    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 '21 at 22:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.