Pronoun Course

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Marshall
JLPT Basic, JLPT Course
Free
  • 9 lessons
  • 0 quizzes
  • 96 week duration

Pronoun Course

Lesson 1: How to say “I” and “We” in Japanese?

In this lesson, I will teach you how to say “I” and “We” in Japanese.


If you are a male, You can use わたくしわたしぼくおれ to say “I”.

Explanation
わたくし
The most formal one. Only use in formal situation such as interview. (Both male and female can use it)
わたし
Less formal than わたくし, but it’s polite enough to use in an interview. (Both male and female can use it)
ぼく
ぼく can only be used by male. And in fact Japanese male usually use ぼく instead of わたし. But it is said it’s impolite to use ぼく to your superior. So you’d better use わたし to your superior, and use ぼく/おれ to your friends.
おれ
おれ can only be used by male. The least formal one.  You can only use it with your friends. 
I for Male

If you are a female, You can use わたくしわたし、あたし to say “I”.

Explanation
わたくし
The most formal one. Only use in formal situation such as interview. (Both male and female can use it)
わたし
Less formal than わたくし, but it’s polite enough to use in an interview. (Both male and female can use it)
あたし
can only be used by female. The least formal one.  You can only use it with your friends. 

As for the “We”, you can refer to below.

(The order is: The most polite … → The least polite). Usually, you can use わたしたち.

Pronoun
Male
わたくしども>わたくしたち>我々われわれわたしども>わたしたち>ぼくたち>ぼくら>おれたち>おれ
Female
わたくしども>わたくしたち>我々われわれわたしども>わたしたち>あたしたち>うちら

Examples:

わたし学生がくせいです。
I’m a student.

ぼく先生せんせいではない。
I’m not a teacher.

おれ天才てんさいだ。
I’m a genius.

わたしたちは観光かんこうきゃくです。
We are visitors.

ぼくらと関係かんけいない。
None of our business.
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18 thoughts on “Lesson 1: How to say “I” and “We” in Japanese?

  1. to pass JLPT N4 I should learn all personal pronouns?

    3+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Yes

      0

  2. Can you give me some examples of 3rd person? Like, near vs not far vs far? Especially near vs not far.

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      There are three people, A B and C.
      The position is like, AC B
      And A don’t know who is C, so he asked B, “Who is he?”この人はどなたですか。
      —————————–
      There are three people, A B and C.
      The position is like, A BC
      And A don’t know who is C, so he asked B, “Who is he?”その人はどなたですか。
      —————————–
      There are three people, A B and C.
      The position is like, AB C
      And A don’t know who is C, so he asked B, “Who is he?”あの人はどなたですか。

      9+

  3. I understand that boku is only used by males. But can a man say bokutachi when referring to his male and female friends or only if they are all male?
    Same question with atashitachi for females.

    1+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      You should use ぼくら

      1+

  4. Could be get some insight into which cases be could use each we-pronoun with an example? How much difference are between each case in politeness?

    1+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      Done! Hope it helps! Usually, use 私たち is the best.

      4+

  5. you could may be increase the font size of hiragana on top of kanji’s coz it’s a bit difficult to recognize if it’s ho or bo in ぼく

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      It’s ぼく.
      (Note: You can use finger to zoom in or zoom out on mobile. I’m afraid making the font bigger will confuse people because the furigana and kanji will be the same size.)

      3+

  6. @Marshall this is my reply to your comment. the dakuten and handakuten on furigana are not visible. this is a big problem for a desktop user. Do think about it.

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      It’s too small?

      0

    2. Admin bar avatar

      What about now? I made it bigger.

      1+

  7. Is there any meaning behind why phrases end with ども, たち, or ら? Noticed that quite a few of the personal pronoun lessons have phrases with these at the end, what do they mean in particular? Thanks!

    0

    1. Admin bar avatar

      It means “s”, like こども→kid, こどもたち→kids

      5+

    2. I decided to practice and post little dialogues in lessons that I learn, so I can practice and people can benefit from too 🙂

      私たちは医者ですWe are doctors
      僕たちは学生ですWe are students (Males)
      俺が猫ではない, We are not cats (Males)
      あたしたち歌手です, We are singers (Females)

      クレエ: おはよう、ジル、お元気ですか?
      ジル:元気です
      クレエ: ジルさんは家の中にですか?
      ジル:いいえ、ではいません
      クレエ: 今は車の中にいますか?
      ジル:クレエさん、何でしょう?

      Conversation between Jill and Claire
      Claire : Good morning Jill, how are you?
      Jill : Good.
      Are you in the house now?
      No I am not
      Are you inside the car now?
      Claire San, what do you want?

      4+

  8. I can think of situations to use the other forms of “we” but when would I use 我々?

    1+

    1. Admin bar avatar

      我々 is used in formal situation

      1+

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