Polite / Casual style in Japanese language

In this session, I wanna explain about polite and casual style in conversation. (respect form is in other article)

There are two types of style in Japanese, polite and casual style.

Casual style is considered as a non-polite expression, and used among friend and family etc. You can say casual style is more practical as we Japanese often use it. If you have experience talking with Japanese, you might feel our language is totally different from language you studied in textbook. That’s the reason why. 

On the other hand, Polite style is considered as a polite expression, and it is usually used in work and public situation or used between people not personally close. A sentence in polite style ends in “desu” or “masu”. 


 A sentence in casual style ends in plain form.

In addition, you can omit the subject, object and verb part in casual style if these are already mentioned in the conversation or context.

This is very important point.  

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Let’s compare polite style with casual style in same sentences.


Ex a)

Polite style


(Kyou wa nanji ni kaeri masuka?)


(Shichi ji ni kaeri masu)

In English: What time will you go home?  At seven o’clock.


On the other hand, example will change in casual style like this.

Ex a’)

Casual style


(Kyou wa nanji ni kaeru no?)

7かえるよ。or just say, “7時”

(Shichi ji ni kaeru yo)or (Shichi ji)

In polite style, you can use “desu” and ” masu”.


Ex b)

Polite style


(Onaka suki mashitane. Nani wo tabe tai desu ka?)


(Soudesune. Yoshinoya no gyuudon wo tabetai desu.)


In English:

You are hungry, right? What will we eat?

Yes. I want to eat rice bowl at Yoshinoya.


Ex b’)

Casual style


(Onaka suitane. Nani tabetai?)


(Un. Yoshinoya no gyuudon (wo tabetai))

You can omit verb part because it’s already mentioned in conversation.


These are very practical examples but often used in daily conversation and manga etc.


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