When speaking Japanese, it is always important to use the appropriate degree of politeness.
There are, broadly speaking, three levels of politeness. We can call these:
The main difference between each of these comes down to verb forms. There are other differences too, but for the most part, you can vary the politeness of a sentence by simply changing the verb forms.
In this article, we’ll look at how to do that for both simple and complex sentences, as well as a few other things that differ at each level.
We’ll particularly focus on the informal and polite forms because:
- the super-polite form is trickier, with a lot more nuance and specific expressions, and
- in most situations where a higher degree of politeness is ideal, the regular polite form is usually good enough.
That said, we’ll still touch on the super-polite form to give you a more complete picture of Japanese politeness, but we’ll save the details of the super-polite form for another time.