28 votes
Accepted

Should I use the formal form (~ます) on the buttons of an app?

I'm actually a developer working for a Japanese programming company. It might depend on some people, but as far as buttons go. 「保存」、「登録」、「完了」、「キャンセル」 etc. seems like the way to go. Of course ...
  • 5,601
16 votes

How do Japanese speakers transition from polite to plain form amongst friends?

In my experience, the nature of the relationship and the nature of the communication are both important for knowing when/how to use the plain form and to knowing what the use of plain form signals. ...
  • 8,065
12 votes
Accepted

When to use である vs であります?

である is formal, but not polite であります is formal and polite, but not humble でございます is formal and polite and humble だ is informal, but not polite です is informal-* and polite *- compared to である A ...
  • 7,271
11 votes

Should I use the formal form (~ます) on the buttons of an app?

Please check Microsoft's Japanese Style Guide (for UI), in particular the Style section on Page 46. Style Use Desu-masu (ですます調, polite style), Dearu (である調, plain style) and noun phrase (体言止め) ...
11 votes

How would you refer to a married couple if you were familiar with both prior to marriage?

IMO, starting to use his/her given name suddenly is usually an inconsiderate option. (It's fine during their wedding ceremony, though.) You can just use 奥さん or 旦那さん if you are in front of them. In ...
  • 274k
11 votes

Do Japanese people use formal or informal language for internal monologues?

I thought your question was a bit vague. Do you mean to ask if Japanese people use 敬語/polite form when talking among themselves? Or are you asking if they think and talk to themselves in 敬語? Most of ...
  • 10.7k
10 votes
Accepted

Are 漢語 always more formal than 和語?

I think there's definitely lots of truth in that tendency. 漢語 was essentially the Latin of Japan for a long time; i.e the language of the elites. In fact, Chinese poetry is still compulsory in ...
  • 14.7k
10 votes
Accepted

In general, do Japanese people communicate formally or informally when conversing on a forum/commenting/chat?

Taking "formally" to mean 丁寧語 here, I think it depends. Chatting/Twitter/BBS If you use your real name, I think the usual rules apply (which are too complex to fully describe here, but I'll mention ...
9 votes

How formal is 唯一?

唯一 is relatively rarer and more difficult than しか~ない or ~だけ, and it's not a word kindergartners are likely to use. But once you've become a teenager, it can be safely used both in formal and casual ...
  • 274k
8 votes
Accepted

How to situationally respond to 「お元気ですか」?

As a native Japanese speaker, I have never said お元気ですか to someone I meet almost everyday. You can tell, at a glance, if they are 元気 or not today, if you meet them everyday, right? お元気ですか seems to ...
  • 1,395
7 votes
Accepted

Difference between onyomi words and kunyomi words

To answer your question: Onyomi is more formal and mature. There are nuances with a lot of the related words. So I would recommend you to use Keigo or polite です・ます形 with Kunyomi words until you have a ...
7 votes

全く vs 全然 (formal / casual)

I think you had better use 全{まった}く than 全然{ぜんぜん} in your essay because 全然 carries a bit stronger emotional overtones than 全く does. 全然 probably gives an informal, easy, friendly, or familiar impression....
  • 2,095
7 votes

How do Japanese speakers transition from polite to plain form amongst friends?

Shifting from polite speech to casual speech is usually a gradual and implicit process when a mature adult makes friends with someone. Depending on the situation, it may take months or even years to ...
  • 274k
7 votes
Accepted

Politely asking to stay at someone's home? お邪魔させてもらう、泊めてもらう、or 滞在させてもらう?

All of them are syntactically correct, but they are semantically strange as explained below. Depending on the situation, もらう may not be polite enough. いただく will be even more polite. In the second one, ...
  • 86
7 votes
Accepted

When to use おなかすいた and when to use はらへった?

To me, "お腹が空いた" sounds normal and polite as compared with "腹が減った," which sounds informal and sometimes vulgar, depending on the situation. When you are taking a walk with your friend in downtown, ...
  • 9,465
7 votes

つもり vs Simple Future

週末にたけしさんとテニスをします is an affirmation that you are going to play tennis on the weekend. It is definite. Note that there is no such thing as a future tense or an auxiliary verb that would correspond to ...
6 votes

Are 漢語 always more formal than 和語?

While 漢語 is more formal/technical/academic than the 和語 equivalent in most cases, there are a few exceptions. 一番 (kango) is less formal/academic than 最も (wago). 喧嘩 (kango) is less formal than 争い (wago)...
  • 274k
6 votes

Are 漢語 always more formal than 和語?

I'll leave any definitive answers to our native speakers, but rather than formal–informal I've started to think that maybe poetic–prosaic might be a more apt duality. (And formality usually implies ...
  • 47.4k
6 votes

How do Japanese speakers transition from polite to plain form amongst friends?

I think there's a lot of variation between speakers. Even as a foreigner at a university, I have met various types of speakers: never use teineigo at all, even though I'm clearly older people who use ...
  • 354
5 votes
Accepted

The difference between するには and する為には

When “するためには” is used, the following context is likely to be “必要{ひつよう}がある”, “しなければならない”, or a similar expression. You can say ためには instead of には in example A, B, and C. A. 朝日{あさひ}を見{み}に行{い}くには、5時{...
  • 2,095
5 votes

How do Japanese speakers transition from polite to plain form amongst friends?

In my personal experience, the transition from polite to plain form is done spontaneously, specifically if you are of the same age level or same position (at work). A month or two after your ...
5 votes
Accepted

When does omission of です constitute casual speech?

I think じゃあ、早稲田まで isn't polite but plain. じゃあ、早稲田まで行ってください and じゃあ、早稲田までお願いします would be polite. Sentences without です, ます aren't polite, so the sentences that end with particles like 早稲田まで, ほしいから, and ...
  • 23.9k
5 votes
Accepted

formality of ちゃう・じゃう

I think they actually said 始めちゃいます using 始める (transitive). ~ちゃう is always colloquial and relatively informal, but usually not impolite. It's inappropriate to use ~ちゃう in formal greetings and business ...
  • 274k
5 votes

今(temporal counter) vs. 本(temporal counter)

本週 does not exist in the first place. BCCWJ returned virtually zero result, and there is no dictionary entry for 本週. 本月 is very rare. Most examples in BCCWJ are either from legal documents or quotes ...
  • 274k
5 votes
Accepted

How is this unnecessarily informal?

Often a shorter version sounds stiffer or more literary/academic/technical. Masu-stem is stiffer than te-form to join clauses だ before ~と見なす, ~とする is usually not said in legal sentences AなどB is ...
  • 274k
5 votes
Accepted

Is honorific speech ever used in the first person?

In ancient Japanese, honorific verbs was used by very noble people to refer to their own actions (自尊敬語, "self-honorifics"). But you won't see this unless you learn archaic Japanese seriously. In ...
  • 274k
5 votes

What's the ultra-polite way to invite someone to do something?

There should be various ways to say what you want to say, but in the situation you mention, I would say "英語に関することで私にお役に立てることがありましたら、いつでもおっしゃってください". It is not super-super polite, but this level is ...
  • 61
5 votes
Accepted

What are simple "No" responses?

You're absolutely right about いいえ not being used as "no" in most cases. I can't recall the last time I heard a native speaker actually use it. Here are some of the most common ways I've heard the ...

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