Formal and Informal Japanese – Do You Know the Difference?

Learn Japanese fast! To find the correct way, you need to know when and how to use formal and informal Japanese. Whether you’re talking to a new acquaintance, a friend, an elder, etc., the person you’re speaking to in Japanese makes a difference, and simple phrases can sound very different. In this Japanese for Beginners article, you will find a comprehensive review of formal and informal adjective conjugations. See firsthand how different a simple sentence like “It’s not expensive” is based on whether you’re using formal or informal Japanese. The simple graphics and abundant example sentences ensure that you will feel completely comfortable with the nuances of formal and informal Japanese.

Vocabulary: In this article, you will learn the following words and phrases:

o-baa-chan – “grandmother, grandmother”
ryakaa – “two-wheeled cart”
rickshaw – “pedicab”
hayai – “fast, fast” (final adjective -i)
kimochi – “feeling”
noru – “to ride, to take, to get on” (class 1 verb)
Abunai – “dangerous” (final adjective -i)
Anzen (n/a) – “safe, protected” (adjective final -na)
soreni – “in addition, in addition”
Grammar: In this article, you will learn the following words and phrases:
Vocabulary and useful phrases
Abunai – “dangerous”

people call Abunai! when someone is in danger. This phrase corresponds to “Careful!” or “Watch out!” in English.

For example:

  1. Oh Abunai! “Hey, watch out!”


kimochi ii
– “feel good”

  • Kimochi (ga) ii – “feel good”
  • Kimochi (ga)warui – “feel bad”


omoshiro
– “looks interesting”

When an adjective precedes sothe meaning of “apparent” is added.

  • [adjective] + so = “looks…” / “smells…” / “sounds…”, etc. For more information see Nihongo Doojoo Starter Series Season 4 Meet the Parents: Article 7

Training

i Completion of adjectives:
-i Adjective / Drop –i and add so
omoshiroi / omoshirosoo
tanoshii / tanoshisoo

-na Adjective ending:
-na Adjective / Drop –n/a and add so
Anzen
(n/a)/ anzensoo
benri (n/a) / benrisoo

Exception!!
I / yasaoo

examples

  1. Kono keeki, oishisoo. “This cake looks delicious.”
  2. yosa kimochioh. “That looks comfortable.”

Grammar review

In this article, we are going to learn more about formal and informal speech by reviewing adjective conjugations.

For example:

  1. “It’s not expensive.” Formal: Takaku arimasen. Informal: Takakunai.

As you have learned, there are two types of adjectives in Japanese:
-i final adjectives and
-n/A final adjectives.

For more information on:
Basic use of adjectives watch Nihongo Doojoo Beginner Series Welcome to Style You: Articles 11-15.
Combine two or more adjectives: watch Nihongo Doojoo Style You and Beyond Beginner Series: Items 15 and 16.

formal speech:
part of speech / Affirmative / Negative
Verb (class 1) / kikimasu / kikimasen
Adjective(-i ending) / takai desu / takakunai desu, takakuarimasen
adjective (irregular) / I desu / yokunai desu, yokuarimasen
Adjective(-n/a ending) / anzen desu / anzen janai desu, anzen Ja Arimasen, anzen dewa arimasen
Noun / kuruma-desu / Kuruma Janai Desu, kuruma Ja Arimasen, kuruma dewa arimasen

Informal speech:
part of speech /
Affirmative / Negative
Verb (class 1) / kiku / kikanai
Verb (class 2) / look / minai
Verb (class 3) / suru / shinai
Verb (class 3) / kuru / konai
Adjective (-i ending) / takai / takakunai
Adjective (irregular) / I / yokunai
Adjective (-n/a ending) / anzen desu / anzen janai
Noun / kuruma gives / kuruma-janai

tea form of adjectives

we use the tea form of adjectives to combine two or more adjectives.

  • -i final adjective: Replace the ending –i with –kute

For example:

  1. Taka i becomes Taka kute
  2. omoshiro i becomes omoshiro kute
  3. i i becomes I kute (irregular)
  • -n/A final adjective: Add –Delaware in dictionary form

For example:

  1. Anzen becomes Anzen Delaware
  2. benri becomes benri Delaware

Check

Please rewrite the following sentences in their informal forms.

  1. Watashi wa mainichi ongaku or kikimasu.
  2. Sore wa hyaku-en desu.
  3. Doitsu no Kuruma wa Takai Desu.
  4. Tokyo no chikatetsu wa benri de anzen desu.

Please rewrite the following sentences in their formal forms.

  1. Ashita, watashi wa gakkoo ni iku.
  2. Kono keeki wa oishikunai.
  3. Tokyo wa anzende omoshiroi machi da.
  4. Nyuuyoku no chikatetsu wa yasukute benri da.

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