Skip to main content
36 votes
Accepted

Can you use "anata" with people you don't know well?

The pronoun "anata" is the supposed neutral way to refer to someone whose name you're not aware of, and it's OK to use it to a stranger if you can't think of any other way to phrase the thing you want ...
Ben Roffey's user avatar
  • 6,711
29 votes
Accepted

Can polite and casual Japanese be combined?

Yes, absolutely. It's called "style shift." There's a whole book about it, and it's covered in brief in A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar, but in short: The most common place to hear style ...
mamster's user avatar
  • 2,987
15 votes

How would a fluent speaker understand ありがとうございません?

It's not common at all and I don't remember whether I've heard it in my entire life, but ありがとうございません is not gibberish, and it could pass as a meaningful wordplay to describe ありがた迷惑 if used in an ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
14 votes

How to use ~先生 properly with co-workers?

This question is largely about culture but a place where culture and language interact. I work at a university in Japan and both on and off campus, we call each other 苗字 (family name)-先生. There's one ...
virmaior's user avatar
  • 8,236
13 votes

How to respond when someone praises about my Japanese?

The way to go is usually to just deny it a little. Something in the lines of : そんな事ないです。 まだまだです。
stack reader's user avatar
  • 5,691
13 votes
Accepted

How to respond when someone praises about my Japanese?

There could be many ways of saying "I am not good at Japanese." depending on your personal preference and context. My favorites were いいえ、あまり[上手]{じょうず}ではありません。 No, I am not that good at ...
Rathony's user avatar
  • 2,098
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 ...
sazarando's user avatar
  • 7,401
12 votes
Accepted

Do all verbs have an honorific and humble form?

As a general rule, almost all verbs can be transformed into an honorific form, and many, but not all, can be transformed into a humble form*. The chart you pasted lists special/irregular forms. So, ...
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.6k
11 votes

How can I say "I insist on paying" (for a free item) to a shopkeeper?

The other answers I feel are OK, but I wanted to point out that I think your attempt "お支払いたい" is not grammatically correct. As far as I know the honorific お is attached to nouns (or well, する-verbs) ...
Tommy's user avatar
  • 7,926
11 votes

Is it rude to refer to a person as 古い?

But I have never once heard a person referred to as 古い, We use 古い also 新しい for a person not for describing his/her age but for describing his/her way/tendency of thinking. As you know 古い is an ...
user20624's user avatar
  • 15.3k
11 votes

How would a fluent speaker understand ありがとうございません?

While it’s not impossible to interpret, it is unusual (far more than “thanks, but no thanks”). This is mainly because the grammatical construction of 〜うございます is mostly no longer productive and ...
Darius Jahandarie's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Could 家族 be used for really close friends?

We may not use 家族 to refer to friends as much as in other cultures, but calling someone with whom you have a family-to-family relationship as you describe in your post 日本の家族 is totally acceptable, and ...
aguijonazo's user avatar
  • 21.2k
9 votes

How to use ~先生 properly with co-workers?

Normally when the Japanese company workers go out for the 飲み会(party) with their Manager or Boss they call them 部長 or 社長 only. In the same way your students will call you as ~先生 even after they ...
Navanee's user avatar
  • 171
9 votes
Accepted

Ways to say 'You needn't apologize'

How about... (いえいえ、) 謝っていただくことはありません(よ)。 (いえいえ、) 謝っていただくことではありません(よ)。 (いえいえ、) 謝っていただかなくていいんです(よ)。 (いえいえ、) 謝っていただくことなんか(何も)ありません(よ)。 (いや、/ いやいや、/ううん、etc.) 謝らなくていい(んだ)よ。 -- casual (...
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.6k
9 votes
Accepted

Origin of ません (-masen)?

According to Shogakukan's big 国{こく}語{ご}大{だい}辞{じ}典{てん}, the verb ending -masu ultimately derived from a combination of humble polite auxiliary verb 参{まい}る plus the verb する, as a shift from either &#...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
9 votes

How to respond when someone praises about my Japanese?

I would say: そんなことないです。 全然ですよ。 まだまだですよ。 Those means "not at all".
ra1ned's user avatar
  • 1,494
9 votes

How does one differentiate between future tense (will) and present tense?

If I am not mistaken, the above sentence can either mean "I will eat fish" or "I eat fish". Correct. ... conjugating the verb to the ます form only aims to make the sentence polite ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

okay to use 男/女 as opposed to 男/女の人 to refer to yourself?

私は男でも女でもありません is perfectly fine. When you refer to yourself, you don't have to add の人. Even when you refer to someone else, 男/女 tends to sound safe when used predicatively, because you are clearly ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
9 votes
Accepted

Is 何それ a rude phrase?

何それ? is not necessarily rude, but it is certainly informal. As such, it should probably only be used with friends or family or in an informal environment. Using it outside those boundaries might risk ...
kandyman's user avatar
  • 11.6k
9 votes
Accepted

Does 「拝見ありがとうございます」 ever make sense?

おっしゃる通り、「拝見ありがとうございます。」は敬語の使い方が間違っています。「拝見いただきありがとうございます。」「ご拝見ありがとうございます。」「拝見していただき...」などは、(言おうとしていることはわかるんですが、)どれもおかしいです。 「拝見」「拝読」「拝聴」などは謙譲語ですから、相手の行為には使いません。「ご覧くださりありがとうございます。」「ご覧くださってありがとうございます。」(...
chocolate's user avatar
  • 65.6k
9 votes

Stubbornly gender-neutral way to address or refer to your older sibling? (Wait a minute...what about non-binary?)

First of all, nearly all Japanese sentences are naturally gender-agnostic, so you never have to be "stubbornly gender-neutral" when speaking Japanese. In English, it is very challenging to ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
8 votes

Different ways to say to like?

じゃ is simply a contraction of では, so these sentences are equivalent and correct. じゃ is slightly more familiar/informal than では, but not necessarily rude or anything. You could probably functionally ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.2k
8 votes

Could 家族 be used for really close friends?

Using just the word 家族 would most likely be interpreted in the literal sense in Japanese, i.e. that there is some kind of blood relationship or connection through marriage. If you are a foreigner and ...
kandyman's user avatar
  • 11.6k
8 votes
Accepted

When speaking openly with a group of people, is it okay to speak casually with some and formally with others?

In such a situation, it's basically okay to use casual language with your friends, but if your boss is listening, you probably don't want to say anything too dirty or slangy (of course, the same is ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
8 votes
Accepted

When can 「お前」be endearing?

First of all, the term お前 itself never suddenly inverts to become a word inherently filled with positive endearment. It's simply that it's not polite, and that the absence of politeness sometimes ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
7 votes
Accepted

Is there a convention to always place yourself last in a list of people?

Order is not really important in most cases. Sentence 1 and Sentence 2 sound almost the same to my ears in the Japanese versions. BCCWJ Corpus has roughly the same number of examples of 私とあなた (43 hits)...
naruto's user avatar
  • 317k
7 votes

How to respond when someone praises about my Japanese?

Somewhat formal 「恐縮{きょうしゅく}です」 can be used to acknowledge a compliment with humility and modesty (like I'm humbled, I think) without necessarily denying the truth of it. (In your case, busting out ...
goldbrick's user avatar
  • 6,174

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible