There's a lot to grammar, so I've divided up this page into smaller sections. Use the sidebar to navigate.

I'm using the same formality and gender codes from the vocabulary page here too.


How formal/respectful/polite your language is tends to be more important in Japanese than in English. Here are some formality indicators I sometimes use on this site to give a rough idea of where terms fit on the spectrum.

The formality levels given are approximate. Different sources may list different or more levels, or classify some things differently. From what I can tell, there aren't really set levels of formality anyway; it's more of a continuous slope. It's just that some things are more polite than others and it depends on the situation which are appropriate. My symbols are merely intended to give a general idea of how formal or casual something is. Any question marks mean that I'm not so sure about it.


While there is, of course, nothing forcing people to choose words based on their gender, there are strong social tendencies and definite gender-based patterns in word choice, particularly in personal pronouns. A male using typically female language will sound strange at best, as will a female using male language (though perhaps less so). Where appropriate, words have been flagged with the following symbols:

Again, these are tendencies rather than rules, so don't be shocked when there are exceptions. In particular, women are increasingly likely to use traditionally male words in recent years.

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