I have noticed reading manga/light novel and speaking with friends that, despite talking in informal way, sometimes they use 敬語 (like ますand です) for one or two sentences, then switch back to informal speaking. There are a particular reasons why these kinds of things happen?

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking, this typically happens (almost unconsciously) when the speaker wants their statement to sound more formal, important, official, serious, dignified, and so on. For example, when:

  • Talking about something serious (money, business, funeral, ...)
  • Talking about something difficult
  • Declaring/swearing something strongly and/or dignifiedly
    • Esp. Making a counterargument (e.g., 言いましたー! "I did say it!")
  • Their boss is nearby

If you still have trouble understanding your particular example, please share the concrete example sentences.

Also note that, depending on the relationship, mixture of keigo and plain form is not really uncommon, and I do this all the time when talking with my friends (see my answer in the first link below).


  • 1
    Thank you for the detail informations. In addition to your examples, I feel the use of keigo (in particulary among friends) can be used also for joking, to "raise up in status" that result in making fun of him/her too. May 8, 2023 at 10:12

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