Informal vs Polite Japanese: How they differ in both simple and complex sentences
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.