Asking "Where do you live?"

Here are two ways to ask, “Where do you live?”

  1. どこに住んでいますか
  1. どちらにお住まいですか

When would I use one over the other, or are both acceptable?

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They’re both formal, but number 2 more formal. I think number 2 would more likely to be used in a business-like setting, whereas you could use number 1 when talking to a senpai.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong…

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That sounds about right. I’m aware of a large number of ways to say (well, ask) the same thing, though I am unsure of the exact “ranking” of politeness/formality and context for each:

どこに住んでますか
どこに住んでるのですか
どこに住んでいますか
どこに住んでいるのですか
どこに住んでいらっしゃいますか
どこに住んでいらっしゃるのですか

And you can substitute どちら and お住まい for (I believe) greater delicacy, as well as variations on でいる as above.

Generally the more complex/long you make it, the greater the formatility. But then you run into a new issue: if you take it too far, it can become comical and eventually downright laughable.

Using でいるん or でいるの seems to emphasize the request for new information. But I don’t have a good example of when you would or wouldn’t want to do that. In my experience so far it hasn’t really made any difference, though I’m sure there are cases where the nuance can matter.

My goal is to spend the next 10 years figuring all of this out so that I understand intuitively, and then I can spend the rest of my life puzzling over exactly why. :joy:

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This is a normal way to politely ask a question. You can use it with people you don’t know too closely or if there’s an age gap (they are older).

The second sentence is too formal. I think this is something a customer service person may use.

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I know Im just repeating what has been said, but this is what you will hear most often. I have spoken to a good few people when in Japan and its always been 住む that is used.