"How are your parents?"
The "rule" is that ご is mostly used with words that use Onyomi (Chinese) reading, while お is mostly used with words that use Kunyomi (Japanese) reading.
Though right in this sentence we have one of the exceptions 元気 (genki) which uses the Onyomi reading but still uses お.
Most words that consist of two or more Kanji use Onyomi readings but there are many exceptions to this rule as well.
(edit: you can also have a look at the link posted by trishka9 further down, that I hadn't seen when taking the time of writing this comment)
I saw in another thread that お is used before words of Japanese origin, while ご is used before words borrowed from Chinese.
This article http://selftaughtjapanese.com/2014/03/21/japanese-honorific-prefixes-%E3%81%8A-and-%E3%81%94-o-and-go/ explains it this way (and then adds some exceptions):
お : used for words with the 訓読み（”kunyomi”), or Japanese reading. It is sometimes written in Kanij as 御.
ご : used for words with the 音読み (“onyomi”), or Chinese reading.
'anata no' means your or yours or whatever comes after the 'anata no ' belongs to you, but because the question is asked to a spicific someone it is obvious that you are asking about his or her parents so you do not need to use anata no..
As for the 'go' particle, its job is to make your sentense more formal or just to show respect to the parents and it is not always necessary so it is correct to leave it
That is what I know about them : D
Yes, the ご. It's an honorific prefix for りょうしん. You wouldn't use it when talking about your own parents because using honorific prefixes for your own family/social circle when speaking to others is not humble and thus a no-no. It's the same reason you should refer to your father as 父 (ちち) instead of as お父さん (おとうさん) when talking about him to other people.
Because that would be like asking "Is it the vitality of your parents?".
の indicates a possessive, which sort of glues two nouns together, and using it here would make 元気 （げんき） the subject/topic of the question. In the normal お元気ですか ("are you well?") 'genki' isn't used as a true noun.
it should be お元気, not あ元気
It's also just a bit redundant to use あなたの in this case since the honorifics already imply you're talking about the listener's parents rather than your own. It's a bit rude to use あなた in general unless you don't know the listener's name at all and it can't be understood through context that you're talking about them. (Or if you are VERY familiar with the listener in which case あなた is similar to the pet name 'dear' or 'darling' in English)
Look up onyomi and kunyomi to get a better explanation, but the gist of it is that therre are 2 ways of reading/ pronouncing a certain kanji because the Japanese already spoke Japanese before borrowing from the chinese characters to stricly define certain words. This ended up with readings clashing, as all chinese characters already had a definitive way of pronouciation (onyomi) but some words already existed in Japanese and read differently (Kunyomi). This lead to there being 2 different ways of reading a certain Kanji. Some are used more often than other so usually it's not a problem, but like in the case of お and ご it just comes down to straight preference, people will still understand you regardless of onyomi or kunyomi pronouciation.
Read this if you want a more in depth explanation and history lesson on why this is. I hope I didn't get anything wrong (please correct me if I did), the last time I read this was like 4 months ago so I just went off of memory. :
A better explanation is that the prefix "go-" is usually used with words of Chinese origin, whereas the prefix "o-" is usually used with indigenous Japanese words.
This is a question about the Japanese language, so kanji don't come into it. Kanji and their readings only come into it when you are talking about reading and writing. It is important to remember that language is speech and that writing is just a way of representing speech on the page. It never* happens that people decide how to write something before they have decided how it is said in speech. Therefore, explanations of speech in terms of writing have it backwards.
- Or at least extremely rarely. Perhaps "Latinx" is an example of this happening. But you can barely call that real language.
It's certainly strange that it accepted that,
お and ご are both readings of the same kanji 御 (o for kun-yomi words, go for on-yomi), but the hiragana shouldn't be interchangeable in this case...
removing the honorific from 元気 isn't wrong either, though it is a bit rude when referring to someone else's parents.
So i swapped places for "go" and "o" and it's still correct. Are we supposed to understand that both their purposes are honorific and therefore it doesn't matter which one we choose in any situation/word? Can "ocha" maybe become "gocha" or "ofuro" "gofuro"??? Or can they only be switched if they're not part of a word?
お and ご are both readings of the same honorific kanji 御
お is the kun-yomi, used with words that use their kun-yomi reading (with some exceptions)
ご is the on-yomi used with words that use their on-yomi reading
The readings aren't really interchangeable, certain readings are used with certain words and not with others. (You would sound unnatural saying "gocha" instead of "ocha" even though cha is actually an on-yomi reading, same for "genki" which is on-yomi so you would think would take "go" but actually takes "o" etc.), but the contributors may have switching them on their accepted list because they are the same word with the same meaning, just different sounds.
元気 is "healthy, lively, well" - Used in greetings like "how are you?" "I am well"
大丈夫 is "safe, secure, okay, alright" - Used like "Are you okay?" In situations when asking if something or someone is alright. Implies a level of concern, like if someone tripped and you wanted to make sure they weren't hurt, or if you are trying to make plans with someone and want to know if that specific day is acceptable for them.
I like that the options I had had the word あなた but not の. Knowing that I can't use あなた without the の helps me process that it's ok to drop the 'you' from my sentence. I know native Japanese speakers don't add 'you' and 'I' to every sentence like native English speakers do.
It depends on where the question word falls in the sentence,
は marks the known/contextual information and stresses what comes after it as the new important information. When it is used it goes before the question word in order to provide context and then stress the question based on that context. This particle cannot go after a question word because something that is unknown cannot be marked as context.
ご両親はお元気ですか - "As for your parents (old), are they well? (new)"
椅子はいくつありますか - "As for chairs (old), how many are there? (new)"
帽子はいくらですか - "As for hats (old), how much are they? (new)"
が introduces new important information so this must go after a question word to stress that question.
誰が来ますか "Who (new) is coming?"
どれが水ですか Which one (new) is water?"
何が欲しいですか What (new) do you want?"