Questions tagged [politeness]

丁寧表現(待遇表現). From social politeness ("please", "thank you", etc) to the technical Japanese grammatical concepts of honorifics and respectful and humble forms known as "keigo".

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How should I say thank-you for an unexpected gift? [closed]

I received an unexpected gift by mail from a Japanese friend. Should I respond with a reciprocal gift, or a thank-you note (or email)? My parents were in Japan in the 1960s, and introduced two of ...
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Difference between using -san and -shi

I was at an event with high ranking Japanese personal, heads of a martial arts organisation. People were asking for signatures on event passes, which had their name written on it. As part of the ...
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You can't address your parents chichi/haha, but can you refer to your parents as oyaji/otou-san/okaa-san?

According to Yuta (whom I heard is apparently not well regarded in the subreddit r/learnjapanese but eh) in How Anya Speaks Japanese (Spy x Family): You can't address your parents as chichi/haha. ...
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Stubbornly gender-neutral way to address or refer to your older sibling? (Wait a minute...what about non-binary?)

I believe Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog/Filipino/Philippine and English (I'm a monolinguist from HK and the Philippines) don't have this, and so Japanese probably doesn't either, but here goes: Is ...
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Usage of "Itadakimasu" for digital objects

Here it reads : As we mentioned earlier, itadaku means "to receive" or "to accept." But it's not a direct translation of the concept in English. There are certain situations where ...
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How I address a juniour colleague is different from how I refer to the colleague around the colleague's sibling?

From S02E10 of the anime adaptation of the manga The Quintessential Quintuplets: Above, Miku Nakano (left) is a younger identical quintuplet of Yotsuba Nakano (right). Miku and Yotsuba are high ...
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Changing the way you address someone without your relationship having changed

Question: Is it common in Japanese to (temporarily? permanently?) change the way you address to someone even if your relationship has not changed because of certain intent say, you want to intimidate ...
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Is this 'onee-san' address sarcastic or something?

S01E03 of anime adaptation of the LN/manga The Devil Is a Part-Timer! See here 1:18 - 1:32 There are these 2 characters Chiho and Emi who meet for the 1st time when Emi interrupts Chiho's profession (...
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Why when being romantically affectionate do these ex-romantic partner step-siblings call each other by last name? (Motokano S01E01)

1st episode of new anime adaptation of light novel series My Stepmom's Daughter Is My Ex aka Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano datta: Yume Ayai and Mizuto Irido have recently become step-siblings. ...
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How relevant is gender in comparing last name-kun/chan compare to 1st name-san?

Re these questions: How does last name-kun/chan compare to 1st name-san? (Danganronpa) Why does Naegi call Togami "kun" and Aoi "san"? (Kaguya-sama) WWhy does Chika call Miyuki ...
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How does last name-kun/chan compare to 1st name-san?

Let's say the person is John Smith, first name John, last Smith. Comparing the following pairs is easy. The latter is more formal than the former. John-kun vs John-san Smith-kun vs Smith-san John-kun ...
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When conjugating adjectives, can we use the normal form of the adjective and use the copula です to indicate its form?

This is specifically for い-adjectives, as な-adjectives work this way. For example, when I want to say something is not delicious I'd usually say おいしくない. Would it be possible to use おいしい じゃありません and ...
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ので with requests [duplicate]

I was consulting my grammar book (A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar), when I came upon the following passage (page 323): Now this is all well and good. But it's a bit conflicting with an ...
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てくれて for a softened request

Suppose I'm making a casual request, and I want something in between 見てね, which is more of a command and 見てくれる?, which is more of a request. Is 見てくれて natural? Or maybe I'm looking for something else ...
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Do ~ではなかったです / ~じゃなかったです sound natural?

I'm compiling a chart for conjugating nouns, i-adjectives, and na-adjectives for a Japanese beginner, but I'm running into some difficulties in the negative tenses. I'd like this chart to be accurate ...
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How do I apologize for unintentionally saying something linked to other people's private difficulties?

I was in conversation with an acquaintance. They start talking about their kid, so I said something intended as a compliment to their child, but that led to them telling me about their kid's ...
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How to give a "professional" compliment as a brief aside ("I just wanted to say…", "As a side note, I really…", etc.)?

Say you're having a conversation with someone broadly in the same line of work as you whom you don't know very well, in an only mildly informal setting—like, near the snack table after a talk you both ...
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推薦書を書いて下さいました。vs (先生に)ピアノを教えていただきました。

1 - 推薦書を書いて下さいました。 2 - (先生に)ピアノを教えていただきました。 I wanted to confirm 2 things. First is number 1 尊敬語 and is number 2 謙譲語 Second is the reason why 2 is using 謙譲語 because the teacher is part of the speakers ...
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Can I use both ましょう and ですか?

I want to ask someone a question as to whether they want to do something. Would you like to play Minecraft on the computer? Would this be written as コンピューターでマインクラフトをあそびましょうか。 OR ...
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Could 家族 be used for really close friends?

My family has a very good relationship with a Japanese family since many decades ago. When I was a kid, I used to play when their sons, and I visited them once and stayed at their home for a month. ...
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Do friends continue to use chan/kun to refer to each other as adults or do they switch to using san?

Do friends continue to use chan/kun to refer to each other as adults or do they switch to using san?
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うん and ます form in the same sentence

https://twitter.com/MRko_aki___/status/1395581370328489985 A Japanese artist recently tweeted うん、頑張ります What is the stylistic reason for combining the casual うん with the polite 頑張ります rather than はい?
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Can you use the base of the 〜ます form to mean "and" in spoken Japanese?

When written I've read that you can use the base of the 〜ます form to mean "and". But does the same rule apply when spoken? For example, does the following sentence make sense when spoken? ...
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Negative polite ending in compounding sentence

I am a beginner. In the TaeKim Guide textbook, there is a rule for the compounding sentence: Positive: Conjugate the verb to its past tense and replace 「た」 with 「て」 or 「だ」 with 「で」. This is often ...
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Adding です after 「また(some time/day)」

If I'm trying to say or write "See you on Tuesday" to someone politely, can I say また火曜日。 or is it better to say また火曜日です。
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What is the proper usage of この上なく / この上ない?

I have encountered the structure ことこの上ない with the explanation that it is used as Adjectiveな + ことこの上ない Adjectiveい + ことこの上ない with the meaning of "nothing is more 'adjective'". For example &...
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Confusion on the politeness vs. formality terminology

I was reading the "Dictionary of Japanese Grammar" series, and I found the way it uses the term formality vs. politeness contradictory and confusing, so I wanted some clarifications. Here ...
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「いただきます」 to accept to a food offer?

In this JLPT N3 audio practice question (#3), the correct reply to the statement is 3. コーヒー、もう一杯いかがですか。 けっこうだと思います。 おかげさまで。 いただきます。 If the question translates as "How about another cup of ...
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Does 「拝見ありがとうございます」 ever make sense?

I have seen this used on a Japanese site by at least two native speakers, usually attached to the end of the post to mean "Thank you for reading". The phrasing simply doesn't make sense to ...
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The grammar behind お願いできる

Lesson 1 of みんなの日本語中級I teaches that 何とかお願いできないでしょうか can be used to insist on a request while acknowledging that it is unreasonable. Regarding the grammar behind お願いできる, is the following ...
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How to express lack of preference

What would be the most natural and polite way to express a lack of preference, for instance, when being asked by a waiter if I prefer a seat at the counter or a separate table? I've searched Google, ...
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Is there a situation where 造語 such as "ググる" could be used with the "ます" ending?

I ask this out of pure curiosity, but would there be any situation where you could reasonably say something along the lines of, "はい、今はそれをググります。" What I've seen/thought of Katakana+る words ...
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About addressing people by -San, -Chan and -Kun

I understand that -San is a formal way to address somebody. A unisex way of both Mr. and Mrs. Kun is a way to address males, but it's used with friends? I'm wondering about that. Now, Chan is very ...
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In written correspondence, how do I politely say "it's OK" in response to an apology?

I sent an email a Japanese former colleage of mine, and he replied several weeks later. His reply included an emphatic apology for not replying sooner (返信が遅くなってしまって本当にごめんなさい。) Is there a polite phrase ...
2 votes
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謙譲語:お「verb stem」する

男:今朝の新聞、お読みになりましたか。 女:いえ、お読みしませんでした。 According to my textbook, this response is incorrect? Why? I thought this pattern is 謙譲語 and suitable. Are there additional rules around this pattern that I'm ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Using honorifics when talking about others with friends (indirect speech)

I couldn't find the question already being asked, so please redirect me if it was already answered. The honorific suffix -さん is always used when directly speaking to another person. It is also used ...
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When is 博士 (hakase) used as honorific?

According to wikipedia, 博士 (hakase) is used as honorific when addressing some academics: Sensei (先生、せんせい) [...] is used to refer to or address teachers, doctors, politicians, lawyers. [...] The term ...
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Different ways of saying "good night" in Japanese [closed]

I know that おやすみなさい means "good night" in Japanese and it can be shortened to おやすみ. What is the difference between the two? In English there are other phrases such as "sweet dreams"...
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What instances would you use someone's full name?

I've run into this a couple times and was always curious. In what instances might you call someone by both their surname and given name? Ex. In a conversation, person B, refers to person A (named ...
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politeness with と思う

I've been reading Minna-no-nihongo and I came across examples: 便利ですが物価が高いと思います。 よく勉強しますが、本を読まないと思います。 For some reasons I thought that an idea or opinion expressed with と思う had to be in informal ...
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How to ask someone if it is okay to do something?

I often find myself wanting to ask if I can do something ie. "Is it okay if I ask you a question?" or "Can I switch seats with you?" Along those lines. I'm not sure if this is ...
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What's the meaning of the てですね ending?

I was reading a manga and a character who is really excited about the situation says "毎日何度も指折り数えてですね!". Why does it end with the て form and why is ですね added? The full conversation is: A: ...
6 votes
1 answer
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How do fathers say "I" when talking to their children in Japanese?

In this thread, I asked about how parents say "I" when talking to their children. I want to refine that question to specifically how fathers refer to themselves. My understanding is that fathers ...
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What's the proper form (formal/informal) to use when speaking to others online?

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 ...
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Politeness of 何をお願いしましたか

I've learned that お・ご+語幹+する is humble language, for example よろしくお願いします。 However, when asking others what they wished for, I see the question: 李:小野さんは何をお願いしましたか。 小野:健康と恋愛です。 Background: Li and ...
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How would a fluent speaker understand ありがとうございません?

How could that forced negation of a common phrase be interpreted? This came up as just a part of some free exploration of linguistics, and my friends and I were pondering if it could perhaps be ...
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お目にかけますのは <- is it correct

I found this in my textbook. ただいまよりお目にかけますのは小学生によるバンド演奏です。 Is it strange ? Is it more polite than お目にかけるのは ? PS.Sorry for my note
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How to politely address an older relative's birthday card

I am a 69 year old English speaking Canadian woman. I am about to send a birthday card to a second cousin in Japan. We have never met. This woman is going to turn 100yrs old. How should I address her ...
5 votes
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Why do people use です/ます in some intimate situations?

2 things recently have just not made sense to me 1) is from a visual novel. In one scene the main character is on a date with his superior from work. She's confessing her love for him, but the main ...
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Why is Atom not given any honorifics in アストロボーイ・鉄腕アトム? Is it because he's a robot?

I'm very new to Japanese I'd like to apologize now for any glaring mistakes up front. Revisiting Astro boy, I've noticed that Atom is very rarely called by any kind of honorific, just アトム. The only ...
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