Difference Between 人 And 者


I would like to know the difference between the above kanji. I stumbled upon 者 in One Punch-man. I gave it a quick translate and it showed me that they both mean person however I’m guessing that the situations that they are used in could be different. I’m level 7 so I haven’t stumbled upon it before.
Any help is appreciated.

Apparently 者 is rarely used alone and is more formal.


It would kind of help if you could give us a full sentence or context where you encountered 者.

Both mean person, but 人 can be used individually and 者「しゃ、もの」 is usually a suffix related to professions (芸者、学者, etc.), the quality of a person (死者, しっかり者, etc.), and as a standalone noun 者「もの」a very formal meaning of “person”.


者 (pronounced もの when alone and しゃ in on’yomi compounds) is rarely used completely alone. It usually appears with something else, as @Joeni’s examples show, because even when it’s ‘standalone’, it still tends to needs to be qualified/described/modified by something. On the other hand, 人 is the most general way of saying ‘person’, and can definitely be used alone, including if you’re making a statement about people in general. In short, 人 doesn’t necessarily need to be modified for it to make sense, whereas seeing 者 completely alone is rather strange.

That aside, yes, 者 is more formal, but again, it tends to be used for discussing specific types of people – ‘people who do Z’, ‘users of Y’, ‘employees’ etc. However, if you’re looking for a polite word for talking about someone else, especially when talking to them or talking about them within earshot (e.g. when a company rep is talking to customers), 者 isn’t usually what you’re looking for: you’ll be wanting 方(かた)instead.


Ah yes that would be a good idea. Here:

Pretty sure I came across this kanji this level (8), so you’ll probably encounter it on WK soon!

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I think this kind of usage is fairly common in manga/anime. Usually uttered by a villain surprised at someone’s strength.

It is essentially the same as
誰だお前 (Who the heck are you?)

You can’t use 何人(なにじん) because it’d mean a different thing (which nationality are you?).


Just a note, the reading for this is なにじん when it means “what nationality”. If it means “how many people” then it’s なんにん. So the reading of 何 changes with the ending.

And there’s also なにびと, meaning “anyone”.


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