In Japanese, speak “you” deserve to mean whatever from “my beloved spouse” to “worthless item of trash,”depending ~ above the certain word girlfriend choose.

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Wielding the correct variation of “you” can aid you do friends…or enemies.

It is a little trickier than in English, however learning just how to resolve someone you are speaking to correctly will help your Japanese sound natural and fluent and could save you a missed service opportunity (or a punch in the face!).

Below is a quick guide to the interpretations of five various ways come say “you” in Japanese so the you execute not end up on the wrong next of everyone you space talking to.

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My Textbook claims “Anata”

It certain does! Textbooks normally do use あなた—anatato mean “you” at a beginner level, for clarity’s sake.

Although they can definitely teach girlfriend the fundamentals the grammar, using textbooks to learn might mean the your speech will sound unnatural till you with an intermediate level or begin learning with much more authentic Japanese resources.

You canuse あなた to mean “you”—it is technically correct—but there room a lot of other ways to to speak (or not say) “you” in Japanese, and also some space far an ext frequently offered by indigenous speakers.

Read top top to find out more!

How to Say “You” in Japanese and Avoid calling Your boss “Darling”

The indigenous “you” is a pronoun. Pronouns are words like “I,” “you,” “she,” “we” and so on, that substitute noun to stop repetition.

English pronoun come in plenty of forms (e.g. I, my, me, mine) yet they operate a little differently in Japanese. For this reason while you need to find out a couple of more pronoun in order to attend to people at the exactly level that politeness, you execute not need to discover vastly different forms choose “mine.” (Instead, a basic particle will do.)


Below are five ways to say “you” in Japanese for vastly various occasions. If friend consume any authentic Japanese media, you might have heard some (or all) of them. If you execute not, we recommend the you take it a moment to check out the videos top top and also see how countless you deserve to spot!

Since has actually such a varied library the videos, including every little thing from news come movie trailers to anime clips, you can get a an excellent sense of just how native Japanese speaker actually usage the words listed below in numerous different situations. take away real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and also inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language discovering lessons.

the naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You’ll learn real Japanese together it’s spoken in actual life.

just take a look at the wide range of authentic video clip content available in the program. Here’s a small sample:


You’ll discover tons of brand-new Japanese vocabulary through these good clips.

Don’t worry about your ability level gift an issue when it pertains to understanding the language. makes native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts.


insanity on any kind of word to look it increase instantly.

You’ll check out definitions, in-context intake examples and also helpful illustrations. Just tap “Add to” come send amazing vocabulary words come your an individual vocab perform for later on review.

* even uses a learning regime which it is adapted to your details needs to turn every video clip into a language finding out lesson and also get you to proactively practice your newly-learned language skills.


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Please note that rather of consisting of the an interpretation for every word in the heading below (which in every case is “you”), we had the romaji reading.

Let’s get to know “you”!

1. あなた—Anata

Typically written with hiragana, あなた is the standard, polite way to describe the listener in a conversation, though typically it is only provided when you perform not understand the surname of the person you are speaking to. the is generally used by women—this gendered speech is an extremely common in Japanese, withspeech patterns differing in between men and women.

It is also used by plenty of women to describe their spouses. It can be stated in an endearing way, choose “darling” or a pet name in English, but it is likewise often offered to refer exasperation.

Mostly supplied by:

You have the right to use this to describe a stranger. Women additionally use that to address their spouses.

2. 君 (きみ) — Kimi

君 is most regularly written using kanji. Those of girlfriend studying difficult will watch that this kanji is also usedwith that onyomikanji readingforthe suffix 〜君 (〜くん) — -kun, i beg your pardon is provided as a familiar term to resolve males.

This is the word for “you” the most men would choose to describe someone once speaking in a casual conversation. It need to not be supplied when talking to your boss or someone else higher than friend on the society ladder, as it expresses a level of familiarity that is inappropriate. Friend would danger sounding presumptuous due to the fact that it suggests that together the speak you feel you are on the exact same level as, or superior to, the human you room talking to.

It is used frequently in song to develop a emotion of immediacy, familiarity and also informality. Boyfriends also use it when talking to your girlfriends.

Although English pronouns execute not lug so much social coding, by looking at君 and also あなた youshould start to watch that it is essential to consider who is speaking and who is being spoken to when picking the end the exactly “you” come use.

Mostly used by:

This word is offered by men in a higher position than those they space talking to, boyfriends talking to their girlfriends and also in songs by both men and women.

3.あんた— Anta

This is a contracted version ofあなた,and together such, is much less formal. Created in kana together あんた, it is frequently regarded as a rude and also rough method to attend to the listener, express the fury or disrespect of the speaker.

This pronoun is not supplied in polite conversation.


It is overly familiar and can be fairly offensive because it is expressing the speaker’s superiority,although you will often hear that in anime, comedy or TV dramas. A rapid search on’s sentence examples shows the odor of this word: insulting, exasperated and used because that rough and ready exclamations.

To see exactly how using this native can affect the recipient, check out aJapanese native speaker’s take it on a non-native speaker making use of あんたto addressher.

Mostly used by:

Women tend to useあんたmore than men, particularly when addressing men. A typical instance would be a mam criticizing her husband.

Both men and also women might use this once roasting their closest girlfriend or household in jest. However, it is something that calls for a refined capacity to know just how others might feel about it. If you room unsure, just avoid this term completely so you carry out not accidentally uncomfortable anyone.

4. お前 (おまえ) — Omae

This is a masculine and also somewhat gruff way of saying “you.” that is regularly used through older masculine teachers when scolding naughty groups of students, despite it should be emphasized the this isnot a polite way to speak come them. It reflects that the speaker’s authority is considered high over those gift addressed and is very informal.

The dictionary notes the this can be thought about a derogatory term, however like all Japanese, the is essential to consider context and also politeness level. For instance, if your older masculine boss claims お前 come you once asking girlfriend to publication a meeting room, the is not passive-aggressive or rude,but rather simply him speaking from his developed position in the office hierarchy.

However, if a stranger that your period on a train speaks to you and also uses お前 climate it is comparable to them having actually said “Oy! You!”

While continuous reinforcing your position in a hierarchy (or, more uncomfortably because that some, within sex stereotypes) may seem to contain a smug subtext in English, the is no so in Japanese and it is necessary to acknowledge that world rarely typical offense once using this term.

If someone does want to uncomfortable you in Japanese, you will likely have the ability to hear it in your intonation. Vice versa, cues favor hearing someone say お前 to you can aid you gauge wherein you are in regards to politeness level (hint: you usually start near the bottom that the hierarchy!).

Men regularly useお前in the same way that women useあなたwith your spouses, despite it reinforces their assumption that they space superior in the couple. You can hear an example used byDomyouji indigenous “Hana Yori Dango.”

Mostly provided by:

This one is scheduled for guys talking to your spouses, guys in a superior place talking to their subordinates and also men that feel secure in ~ their position in a team (like established workers in one office, young men or boys with peers they recognize well and also elderly guys talking come pretty lot anybody outside of a officially context).

5. てめえ— Temee

手前 (てまえ) is written with kana and also shortened come てめえ.

Take caution: This native is exceptionally rude and also is nearly never heard in actual life.

This writer has actually heard it used once in 10 year in Japan (by unsupervised kids fighting over toys trying come out-macho every other). However, this expression is worth knowing due to the fact that itis supplied for dramatic emphasis in anime and drama, and also you hear that pretty often.

This hatchet is at least as confrontational as dropping the F-bomb in English and expresses an excellent anger towards the human being you room speaking to.

Mostly offered by:

If friend hear this, someone is do the efforts to actively start a fight.

Bonus: talking to Groups and also Saying “Your”

In English, “you” have the right to mean one human or a group that the speak is talk to. In Japanese, simplyadd 〜たち—-tachi,sometimes written through the kanji 達, to pluralize “you” and refer to two or an ext people you room conversing through (for example, 君たち—kimi-tachi).

A much more polite means to carry out this, and also one the is more suitable for handling clients in a business setting, would certainly be come use-kata or -gata, i beg your pardon elevates the level that politeness.

If you space wondering whyk sounds sometimes become g sounds in Japanese, it has to do through the sounds instantly preceding them. This is calledrendaku and also there is a thorough and also helpful post on Tofugu every aboutrendaku usagethat is well worth a read.

So, now you can say “you” in Japanese, but how perform you to speak “your”?

You have to add the possessive bit の — no, which action in a similar method to adding “apostrophes”in English and also indicates possession. For instance, if you want to questioning “Is this pen yours?” you would say あなたのペンですか?

The fragment の can be attached to the finish of any of the pronouns detailed above and to a person’s surname (more ~ above this below).

More herbal Ways come Say “You” (Without actually Saying “You”)

As you can see by now, Japanese cannot just be directly translated from English. Big cultural differences exist surrounding just how you attend to others, therefore the most herbal ways to actually say “you” in Japanese would certainly sound, unsurprisingly, quite odd in English.

Here room the two most common ways used by indigenous speakers in daily conversation.

1. + title

This is a very natural method to describe a human being in Japanese.The lack of a pronoun is actually polite, because you change it v the listener’s name, implying that you respect them and also know your name and also everything it means (historically family members honor, status, etc.). Remember the it is much more proper to usage thelast name.

Picking increase this habit in location of あなた is a very fast way to make your Japanese sound more fluent and also to acquire to grips with more common Japanese names.

You can additionally affix の come the surname to speak “yours,” as defined above.

In much more informal conversation, girlfriend may uncover that Japanese human being drop the honorifics:ジョンは元気?(ジョンはげんき?) — “Are girlfriend well, Jon?” keep in mind that this suggests closeness and informality, so perform not drop titles till the aboriginal speaker go or tells you the you can, come be sure to prevent offense.

In the example above, various other formal aspects have been dropped: お元気ですか? (おげんきですか?) becomes simply 元気 (げんき?), talked with climbing intonation to indicate a question. Every one of these elements work with each other to provide a feeling of great informality and also closeness.

2. No pronoun in ~ all

Familiar pronouns can be presumptuous, assuming the the speaker can judge the pecking order of a situation. The is why using no pronoun at all is often an ext polite.

If this sounds confusing, remember that inEnglish, we additionally drop pronouns or other details from sentences once the context renders it clean what is happening to every concerned. Think about the following instance of a conversation:

A: “Got a many to perform today?”

B: “Yeah, swamped!”

Context renders it clean A is talk to B, therefore “you” and “I” room not needed, and intonation makes it clear the A is questioning a question, no making a statement. Here is another example:

(C has spoken about weekend plans then asks:)

C: Going anywhere fun?

D: I’m going come the beach v my family.

In isolation, D’s sentence is talking about the current moment, yet the context of the conversation, both parties know that D is mentioning the future.

These type of cues are used all the time in Japanese, which is a high-context language. Dropping the pronoun or name is not just acceptable, yet it is actually more naturalin numerous cases.

If us go earlier to our example above, we deserve to actually shortenジョンは元気? to, rather simply,元気?or As long as it is clear who you space referring to (like if you space speaking directly to one person), you have the right to usually safely autumn the pronoun.

See more: 62 1/2 Inches In Feet Conversion Calculator (In To Ft), Inches To Feet And Inches Conversion

Choosing the right way to to speak “you” in Japanese have the right to be confusing because that beginners, however you will soon gain the hang of it. If in doubt, err top top the next of caution. It is what the Japanese do!

Just follow this gold rule:Being too polite will not burn any bridges, but being as well informal might.Good luck!

Download: This blog short article is obtainable as a convenient and also portable PDF the youcan take anywhere. Click below to gain a copy. (Download)