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Home » 100 Grammar Points » I, Me, You, Thou…

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100 GRAMMAR POINTS

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I, Me, You, Thou…

A list of a few dozen pronouns – some common and some… not so.

THE MANY I’S

  • watashi – the safest most common ‘I’ usage: *****
  • watakushi – more formal (same kanji)
  • あたし atashi – used by women (same kanji)
  • あたくし atakushi – ditto (same kanji)
  • boku – used by men; less formal. (it uses the same kanji as ‘ servant 僕 shimobe ) usage: *****
  • ore – can be seen as rude, but used by men often usage: *****
  • わし washi – used by old men ojiisan – If you are young, say this and see what your Japanese friends say! Fun!
  • あっし asshi – from Edo period until now; used by men
  • てまえ temae – used by the merchant class in the Edo period; very humble
  • 拙者 sessha – used by samurai in Edo period; humble
  • おら ora – used by children and Crayon Shin-chan; cute!
  • うら ura – used by men in Fukui prefecture
  • 我が輩 wagahai – An older form of ‘I.’
    Usage:
    吾輩は猫である wagahai wa neko de aru – I am a Cat (novel by Natsume Soseki)
  • 我が waga – means ‘my.’ Used in speeches and formalities
  • ware – Another form of ‘wa’ series. It means ‘I’. Often heard as 我々 ware ware meaning ‘we’
  • うち uchi – used by women and Osaka dialect
  • soregashi – used by samurai in the Edo Period (not used now)

 

THE MANY YOU’S
  • 貴方 anata – the safest most common ‘You’ (Usually written in Hiragana (no kanji)) usage: *****
  • kimi – usually said to people lower than [or equal to] you socially <Submitted by Lindsay>
  • そなた sonata – archaic
  • 貴様 kisama – a rude, most foul ‘You’ (if you notice both あなた and きさま have the same first kanji. This kanji means ‘nobility’ but today it has a rude feel to it. BE CAREFUL WITH THIS!
  • onore – Very rude. Used during fights. This is an interesting word as it can actually mean ‘you’ AND ‘I.’ The ‘I’ meaning is used mainly in literature and is not rude. But be careful with the ‘you’ usage! <Submitted by Ghislain Cottat>
  • お前 omae – used as an insult during fights or as a sign of affection by older couples. hmmm. It isn’t too rude, but has a ting to it
  • なんじ nanji – you, thou (old word) – the kanji is 汝
  • あんた anta – you (Don’t say this to your elders!) Usually said to people ‘lower’ than you. For example older sister to little brother
  • 貴下 kika – you (to a younger person)
  • お主 onushi – you – In the manga YAIBA, Musashi Miyamoto and Kojirou Sasaki use お主 (おぬし) when referring to people in the second person. It must be a samurai thing. (submitted by hihlordjp)

It’s often best to use a persons name instead of a pronoun in Japanese. Please check out 敬称 Name Titles

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100 GRAMMAR POINTS

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