Japanese JLPT basic grammar: the kosoado chart, personal pronouns and honorifics.


Here is another part of my posts for the JLPT N5 & N4 material:

The kosoado chart, personal pronouns and suffixes and honorifics used when addressing people. Not all of them are required for the N5 and N4, but many of those are used in daily speech.



こ KO (this) indicates the objects or events located near the speaker
そ SO (that) indicates the objects or events located near the listener
あ A (that over there) indicates the objects or events located away from both the speaker and listener
ど DO (what) question words


1 ~re - ~れ pronoun (thing)
2 ~ko - ~こ pronoun (place)
3 ~cchi - ~っち pronoun (direction)
4 ~chira - ~ちら pronoun (direction - polite)
5 ~no - ~の attributive (thing)
6 ~nna - ~んな attributive (type)
7 ~u - ~う attributive (manner)
8 ~noyouni - ~ように attributive (manner, polite)
9 ~itsu - ~いつ individual person, thing)
10 ~nata - ~なた pronoun (person, side)
こ (ko) そ (so) あ (a) ど (do)
1 これ (kore) - this それ (sore) - that あれ (are) - that over there どれ (dore) - which
2 ここ (koko) - here そこ (soko) - there あそこ (asoko) - over there どこ (doko) - where -
3 こっち (kocchi) - here そっち (socchi) - there あっち (acchi) - over there どっち (docchi) - where
4 こちら (kochira) - here そちら (sochira) - there あちら (achira) - over there どちら (dochira) - where
5 この (kono) - this その (sono) - that あの (ano) - that over there どの(dono) - which of three or more
6 こんな (konna) - like this そんな (sonna) - like that あんな (anna) - like that どんな (donna) - how / what kind of / like what
7 こう (kou) - like this そう (sou) - like that ああ (aa) - like that (over there) どう (dou) - which way, how
8 このように (konoyouni) - this way そのように (sonoyoni) - that way あのように (anoyouni) - that way (over there) どのように (donoyouni) - how (which way)
9 こいつ (koitsu) - this thing そいつ (soitsu) - that thing あいつ (aitsu) - that thing over there どいつ (doitsu) - which thing?
10 こなた (konata) - this person そなた (sonata) - that person あなた (anata) - that person over there どなた (donata) - which person?

PERSONAL PRONOUNS (人代名詞 - じんだいめいし):

There are several synonyms for each personal pronoun, with different levels of politeness. Some personal pronouns are exclusively used by women or by men. In general it is preferred to refer to another person by their name with appropiate honorific suffix, by title or by function.

Used format: | romanji | hiragana | kanji | used by (gender) | politeness level |

additional notes

I, ME:

watashi わたし both formal

wate (わて) in Kansai dialect

watakushi わたくし both very formal
ware われ both very formal

old-fashioned (except plural "wareware", used in a humble way to talk about one's company)

waga わが 我が both very formal

literary form for "watashi", still used in the meaning of "my" or "our" (eg : "Wagakuni" わが国 = my/our country); used in speeches and formalities.

ore おれ men informal

can be seen as rude, used among close friends or family, can be used as familiarity, not superiority; variations of ore: ora (おら) - used in Kanto area, ura (うら) - used in Fukui prefecture.

oresama おれさま 俺様 men very informal

arrogant form of ore (may mean "Mr number one")

boku ぼく men informal

soft masculine form, humble and friendly,

washi わし men informal

older men to younger or lower rank people, fiction characters; in the Kansai region it can be shortened to wai.

atashi あたし girls informal

often considered cute, rarely used in written language, common in conversation,

atai あたい girls very informal

slang version of atashi

atakushi あたくし girls formal

similar to watakushi

uchi うち girls informal

means "one's own", a neutral version also refers to "us" (family, company, etc.) as opposed to "them" or "you",

jibun じぶん 自分 both formal

means "myself"; "jibun no" (自分の) - "my" or "your"; "jibun de" (自分で) - "myself" or "youself".

oira おいら 己等 men informal

an alternate and more casual form of ore which was more widely used back in the Edo period (sometimes even by women in the late Edo period), now used by youth (rarely written in it’s kanji form),

onore おのれ men informal

arrogant and impolite (formerly humble form), means "self" or derogatory "you"

asshi あっし men formal

from Edo period until now, used by working men

kochira こちら both formal

highly polite and is often used in business situations, especially one the phone; also can mean "we",

kocchi こっち both informal

frequently used among friends, it is neutral about social status,


anata あなた 貴方 both informal

kanji is rarely used, name of the listener is often used instead, commonly used to address lover, equivalent to the English word "dear"

anta あんた both informal

expresses familiarity towards peer

omae おまえ お前 both very informal

used to expresses contempt or anger, shows speaker's higher status or age, used casually among peers, used often with the word ore (me), should never be said to elderly people,

temae てまえ 手前 men very informal

alternative form: temee; rude, expresses anger; historical usage: used by the merchant class in the Edo period as very humble form;

kisama きさま 貴様 men very informal

extremely rude, expresses hostility

kimi きみ both informal

it can be affectionate and intimate, used by men to talk to younger women or children,

kika きか 貴下 both informal

it is said to a younger person

onsha おんしゃ 御社 both very formal
kisha きしゃ 貴社 both very formal

both mean "your company", respectful forms,

otaku おたく お宅 both very formal

it means "your house/household"

sochi そち both informal
sochira そちら 其方 both formal

similar to "kocchi" and "kochira"


ano kata あのかた あの方 both very formal
ano hito あのひと あの人 both formal
yatsu やつ both very informal
koitsu こいつ 此奴 both very informal
soitsu そいつ 其奴 both very informal
aitsu あいつ 彼奴 both very informal

ano hito/ano kata both mean "that person"; yatsu means "that dude" and is considered quite rude; koitsu, soitsu and aitsu mean, respectivelly: "this guy" ,"that guy", "that guy over there",


kare かれ both informal

alternative meaning: boyfriend; other word for "boyfriend": kareshi - かれし (彼氏)


kanojo かのじょ 彼女 both informal

alternative meaning: girlfriend

NOTE: to make plural personal pronouns, usually the ending -ra (ら) or -tachi (たち - 達) is added.


watashi tachi わたしたち 私達 both formal
watakushitachi わたしくしたち 私達 both formal
watakushi domo わたくしども 私共 both formal
bokutachi ぼくたち 僕達 men informal
atashitachi あたしたち あたし達 girls informal
orera (oira - rural dialect) おれら 俺ら men informal
heisha へいしゃ 弊社 both very formal
wagasha わがしゃ 我が社 both very formal

both mean "my/our company", humble forms,

kochitomo こちとも both informal

slang for "we" or "ourselves", sometimes also "I" and "myself",


anata tachi あなたたち 貴方達 both informal
kimi tachi きみたち 君達 both informal
omaera おまえら お前ら both very informal
anatagata あなたがた あなた方 both formal


wareware われわれ 我々 both formal
karera かれら 彼等 both informal
ano katagata あのかたがた あの方々 both formal
ano katatachi あのかたたち 方達 both formal
ano hitotachi あのひとたち あの人達 both formal


kanojora かのじょら 彼女ら both informal
kanojo tachi かのじょたち 彼女達 both informal


minasan みなさん 皆さん both formal
minna みんな both informal

POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS (所有代名詞 - しょゆうだいめいし) :

they are formed by placing the particle の (no) after the respective personal pronoun.


* ~tachi - 〜たち (~達)
meaning: "more than one", "others"
* ~ san 〜さん
Mr., Mrs.; honorific suffix
* ~ kun ~くん (~君)
familiar suffix for young males
* ~ chan ~ちゃん
familiar suffix, usually for girls
* ~sama ~さま( ~様)
very polite "san"
* ~sensei - ~せんせい (先生)
teacher, master of subject, master of craft (doctors, scientists, martial arts masters)
* ~shi - ~し (氏)
similar to "sensei", used in formal writing and speech to refer to someone unfamiliar to the speaker, frequent use in academia, formal publications, journals, legal documents and newsreaders

! using no honorific at all when addressing someone is known as 呼び捨て (yobisute) – ‘throwing away the calling’, and it is considered quite rude.

BONUS - for the curious and those who like to study historical language usage:


I, ME:

* chin -ちん (朕)
used by emperors or kings
* daikou -だいこう (乃公)
literary; used by men when speaking in an haughty way
* yo - よ (余)
rare classical form, used by men of very high stature
* soregashi - それがし (某)
ancient form of "watakushi", used by samurai in the Edo Period
* wagahai - わがはい (我輩)
archaic form of "watashi", used by men of high social status,
* warawa - わらわ (妾)
ancient form of "watakushi", classical humble female form
* sessha - せっしゃ (拙者)
used by Samurai in Edo period; it means "unrefined/coarse (literally unskillful) person", a very humble way to refer to themselves; nowadays it is used in a "macho" sounding manner


* nanji (namuchi, nare) - なんじ (汝)
you, thou; literary, used with intimate people or lower rank people
* onushi (onoshi) -おぬし (御主)
humble, used by samurai to talk to people of equal or lower rank, literally means "master"
* onmi -おんみ (御身)
literary honorific form meaning "your body"
* sokotomo そのとも, sonohou その方, sonota そのた, konota このた
dated variants of "anata"

EDIT: for now I took away the "suffixes and prefixes" part, with the exception of those used as honorifics for addressing people. Don't worry though, I'll post them back! The reason for this edit is that the post became much too long, I made some slight corrections too and the text will be in tables (more compact than making a list). I noticed it's now possible to copy whole tables without messing the text and format up, thank you Duo! :D

Repository thread for the Japanese learning posts

Enjoy your Christmas and winter break, everyone! :D

December 22, 2017


Ah, thank you very much! I was curious whether or not the lessons Duolingo provides offered insight on the grammar of the languages. I know that this will come in handy in future, so I thank you again. Then again, I've only started learning today, so right now I've only started studying hiragana and simple words. :)

December 23, 2017

Japanese JLPT basic grammar: personal pronouns, the kosoado chart, prefixex and suffixes.

While I can appreciate the trouble that you went to in constructing this list, there are a few issues that I have. The construction and formatting are to be commended. For the most part I find it very useful and I think that some of the material would be applicable to N5 and N4, but not most of it.

I would say that a significant number of the words are archaic or not used in general conversation. If you are auditioning for a period drama as a samurai or geisha these ones might come in handy.

Some of these are so obscure that they are almost laughable. おご飯?Really? Also, there are a few simple errors, like spelling お野菜 as oyasami, spelling syllable as syllabe, and spelling prefixes as prefixex. 非常 is closer in definition to 'extreme' or 'special' than 'unusual', but also means 'emergency' (multiple definitions should be used). お住まい is closer to 'abode' or 'residence' than home. There are also inconsistencies: ご両親 translated as 'someone else's parents' but ご家族 just means 'family'? 不便 is not 'unpractical' (by most standard definitions), it is 'inconvenient' or by a stretch could be 'tedious' (面倒臭い).

Whether or not to put an お before foreign words is debatable. Besides being used often for some things in Western Japan, many Japanese feel that the use is incorrect and sounds strange. Either way, it is definitely not necessary.

If you were to split this into different posts or trim it down a bit I think it would be eminently more useful.

Edit on Dec.26: Much improved since original posting. A world of difference. I would only mention that while 拙者(せっしゃ)was originally a humble form, like many words it developed the opposite meaning. Rather than 'clumsy', it was probably closer to 'unrefined' or 'course'. Through being used almost exclusively through the warrior caste it also developed a 'macho' or 'haughty' sounding nuance.

It is currently used almost exclusively in a joking manner.

December 23, 2017

Thank you very much! I'm sorry for the errors, as there is a lot of material most of them just got overlooked. I will edit the post.

The construction and formatting are to be commended. 

What formatting changes would you suggest?

Edit: (⁄ ⁄>⁄ ▽ ⁄<⁄ ⁄) I read that as "condemned" and here I am sitting and trying to figure out what's not right with the format ;D My eyes are playing tricks on me... sorry!

December 23, 2017

I wouldn't suggest any changes to the construction or formatting. I was complimenting these aspects:)

Addendum: No problem. Hope you got some good rest!

December 23, 2017

Thank you for the corrections! If you have time and are willing, please post your further suggestions here, I want to make this list as accurate as possible. Most of the learners here are either a the basic level or already know a fair share of Japanese. I try to make the lists that are understandable for beginners, but also containing something to learn for those that want to learn more (for example to get to the full N4 level and higher, like me). It's not easy to do that by oneself, and I really appreciate all the advice and help :)

December 27, 2017

Will do. Glad to know that my criticisms are received as coming from a place of good intention (as they are).

December 28, 2017

I like the very nice use of tables, after what we were talking about in that previous thread. ^^

If you're going to keep making long helpful posts like these, then I guess maybe it'd be helpful to let you know how to change the font colour too...
[color=white]some text here[/color]
[color=#FFFFFF]some text here[/color]

December 24, 2017

Woah, how'd you do that? Some HTML wizardry or something probably :O

December 24, 2017

That are some god-like (or mod-like) skills! I tried to make colored text, but failed miserably ;P Markdown syntax is extremely easy, but it's use is also very limited. I don't know what features are restricted on Duo, too... html used to be implemented (at least it looks like it was) but doesn't seem to be anymore. I even tried to make hideable "spoiler" text (for all the loooong posts) but no luck in that either. Fortunately I got the hang of how to make the tables that look nice and neat when I write them not to get so monstrous right after posting ;)

I'm planning on making a couple more vocab and grammar lists, mostly covering what is not really explained in the course and what's commonly used. :) Colored text would be very helpful, but I worry a bit if it doesn't put a strain on the servers and cause latency (even the deleted discussion posts are still stored and can be accessed through the link)... (・・;)ゞ

December 24, 2017

I've never really looked into how Markdown is processed, but I doubt there's really anything to worry about. I imagine the Markdown is converted into HTML upon submitting your post, and then when people view your post there is no Markdown processing done at all. Other than it adding a few extra bytes of HTML each time you change the colour, which will then mean extra bytes of data to be downloaded from the servers (the same as if you'd typed a few extra letters), I imagine the only latency issue is on the client side, where the user's browser has an impossible-to-even-notice-ably small amount of extra work to process the extra HTML for the colours. ^^

As for how to change the colour, I hope you noticed I also set some of the text in my post above to "white" (or to "#FFFFFF")? Those two *blank* lines I wrote at the end were the main point of my post.

December 24, 2017

Yes, I noticed that, thank you very much! I was worried about something like this, that using too much formatting may interfere with the changes Duo is making lately (and the downtime troubles too).

Right now, I'm having trouble with the lingot count - it's stuck, I just noticed it after hitting a daily goal. - not anymore... for now! ;)

December 24, 2017

Just checking, since it seemed the other person who replied hadn't noticed. :D

I think that {@style} stuff they were talking about is in a bit of a different league to this, since those were for custom formatting. I've seen mods using coloured text in their threads, where those posts probably get thousands of views. So there shouldn't be any reason for us to avoid also using it in our little posts. ^^

December 24, 2017

"Blank" text is a really sneaky (but awesome!) way to channel some hidden meaning ;) knowing how to make colored text... there are so many possibilities, I can feel an editing spree coming up soon ;D And if the "spoiler tag" worked too (the format for github Markdown is ">!" but it doesn't work here right now), that would be really something useful (^‿^)

Since you are really proficient in the Japanese already, what topics would you think I should cover in my upcoming posts? I try not to go overboard with those, but there's just so much interesting stuff...

December 24, 2017

This is a good list. There are a few mistakes, and some very obscure references, but overall it’s good and should be of help to new learners of Japanese that need some grammatical explanations not,provided in the course.

December 26, 2017

Thank you for the feedback! Could you please tell me what the mistakes are so that I may correct them?

December 27, 2017

このたfor example seems uot of place for me. I have serached various dictionaries (not online ones, plain old paper and ink) but have found no traces of such word (even arachaic one); かなたdoes exist but has a different meaning though...

April 18, 2019
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