Specifically, I am thinking of 形式, 公式, 公, and 正式. I have a vague notion that 公式 is closer to the English "official" in that it is for typically for some explicitly declared things by an organization like a 公式発表 or a 公式見解, but beyond that the nuance eludes me.

1 Answer 1


I think that looking at the kanji and example sentences should probably give you a hint about the meaning.

正式 the correct/proper form


She divorced from her husband in the correct form (legally/officialy).


Those clothes of her, in a party in the correct form (formal) are out of place.

形式 seems more associated with format.


He expressed it in the form of novel.

But also formality


In general, young people dislike formalities.


Write using a formal literary style.

This could easily be written using 正式.

公式 is the form that is for the public. I think you get this one. It's really close to the "official" word in english, But it can also be used as "formula" in the mathematical sense.

seems to lean to the "public" meaning in the sense that it's not private.


The old man retired from public life ten years ago.

I hope this helps somehow.

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