Home » 100 Grammar Points » 95. Polite Japanese 敬語

100 GRAMMAR POINTS

95. Polite Japanese 敬語

There are three basic types of honorifics for verbs. Which form to use depends on the social rank of the person you are speaking to.

A) Humble (謙譲語 kenjougo) – This is when referring to oneself or one’s family members and (usually) speaking to someone higher up in social rank, position or some other criteria for determining status. However, even some people with high positions may choose to use the humble form with those under him/her. B) ~masu – As mentioned above ~masu / desu is actually 丁寧語 teineigo or polite language, but I’m using the familiar ~masu form for an easy comparison to the the kenjougo and sonkeigo forms. C) Respectful (尊敬語 sonkeigo) – This is what you say to your boss or those higher up when speaking to them. If you are speaking about yourself, you will use the humble form.

Humble

(speaking to your boss about yourself) 拝見します haiken shimasu

申します moushimasu You know this from “name to moushimasu

頂きますitadakimasu

参ります mairimasu This is the humble form for both to come and go!

致します itashimasu

Normal

(speaking to your friends)

見ます

mimasu

to see

言います

iimasu

to say

食べます

tabemasu

to eat

来ます

kimasu

to come

行きます

ikimasu

to go

します

shimasu

to do

Respectful

(speaking to your boss about your boss)

ご覧になります goran ni narimasu

おっしゃいます osshaimasu

召し上がります meshi agarimasu

いらっしゃいます irasshaimasu This is the respectful form for both to come and go!

なさいます nasaimasu

100 GRAMMAR POINTS

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