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"How are your parents?"


June 15, 2017



in the example given, could someone explain the purpose of the ご in the beginning of the sentence?


It's a honorific as in ごはん, similar to the お in おげんきですか in this same example.


if ご and お can both be used as an honorific, does it ever matter which one I use?


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 just tried お and it worked... I was puzzeled by the ご in the answers...


What's the difference between りょうじん and おや?


りょうしん (両親) is always plural: the kanji literally mean "both parents". おや (親) is "a parent".


I thought that "親" meant kiss lol.


Can you a parent me?


Is it necessary to have the お in front of 元気? Why is お元気 correct but not 元気? What's the indication in the sample that indicates you need the お?


Yes, it's an honorific, which you use because you're talking about someone else's parents. Just 元気 would be a bit informal.


So it's an expected formality, not just a personal judgement of formality. Got it. Thank you. :)


i used 元気 without お and was marked correct.




The sentence as currently written uses ご両親 (also written 御両親), with the honorific prefix ご-.


I see from the comments that あんたの can be omitted as being implicit. My answer was also accepted here: お両親はお元気ですか?

What is the difference between おand ご?


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.


I wrote without the "anata no ga" part and it was correct. Why? What does it means?


'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


There are situations where it's not obvious which set of parents you're talking about, say the listener has last talked to both your and his parents. Is there anything in this sentence besides the あなたの clause that implies you are talking about theirs?


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.


あなたの means "your". Since you're asking a question, it's understood from context that you're talking about the other person's parents, so it can be omitted. ご両親 is simply a more polite version of 両親.


Why is it not "ご両親のげんきですか?"?


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.


This should be translated into "Are your parents fine?" right?


Not quite. While 元気 literally means "lively/healthy", it's an idiomatic way to ask "how are you [or "they" or whoever is being talked about]?"


In which context should I use "お前 - (おまえ)" and "あなた" ?


おまえ is more familiar than あなた... which is still somewhat familiar. In most cases you'd refer to the person by name rather than use a pronoun, or leave the noun/pronoun off if it's understood from context who you're talking about.


あなた is the standard formula for you. You can use it anywhere, formally, and informally. おまえ, as V2Blast said is more informal, and I only heard it between men (not a rule).


We've been advised multiple times by japanese teachers that あなた is rather informal, and should be avoided.


I think in japanese you basically avoid saying 'you' ever, but if you have to you say あなた in this case sayine "how are the venerable parents" is enough to politely indicate you are talking about the other ones parents. did I get that right?


why is "あなたのご両親はあ元気ですか" wrong?


it should be 元気, not 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)


Can someone please tell me why we use both ご and お In this sentence? I understand that it is polite and one is for kunyomi and the other for onyomi but i dont understand why we need two, when the first one already makes it polite?


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.


Why is あなたのご両親はお元気ですか? Not accepted?


I didn't know when to put "ご" in front of the parent kanji.


You can put it any time you're talking about parents other than your own. It's not technically required ever, but it makes your speech more polite. Just don't use it to talk about your own parents to other people, since you should be humble when talking about your own family.


Why is 親(Oya) marked incorrect here, whereas in a previous question referring to both parents (Where are you parents), 親 was completely acceptable?


Why do you use "go" before "riyoushin"?


honorific character, similar to the お in some other words



【ご- りょうしんは・お- げんきですか?】


I entered 「お両親は元気ですか?」and got the right answer. But what I don't understand is how it's different from the other accepted answer:「ご両親はお元気ですか?」. Can someone please help with this? Thank you!


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.


Does the ご in ご両親 mean that the speaker is asking about the listener's parents? So you can omit anata ha.


i added anata wa before the whole setence and it markes me wrong... is wrong to add Anata Wa before this whole stenece?


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.


両親お元気ですか is wrong?


How is "Genki" different from "daijoubu"?


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 literally Google translated it and it said it was wrong

Idk what I'm doing wrong


Unfortunately, google sometimes gives really wrong answers. It's not a good way to check your answer. A better site, if you need to look up words, is www.jisho.org.

Do you remember what you put as the answer?


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.


is there a reason why あなたの is not used to specify "your" in theis sentence?


Because honorific ご preceding 両親 is only used to refer to someone else's parents. あなた is very rarely used in japanese


"両親が大丈夫ですか?" - is that wrong?


That would be more like "Are your parents okay?", which implies something happened to them like a car crash for example.


ご両親はどうですか why is this wrong? Doesn't どう mean "how"? I'd also think いかが can be used in place of どう.


I thought using が is standard when you ask a question, but there is no rules ?


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?"


Good explanation. To sum it up: When the question is about a property of a thing, は is used because the thing is context for the question. When the question is about the thing itself, が is used

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