In Search of Honorific/Humble Form Resources

Hello! Just like the title says I’d like to find more resources on learning Honorific/Humble forms. I’ve been trying very hard lately to learn it, because I want to be able to speak to my sensei respectfully. I’m also writing him a thank you card for the end of this semester and even if I only use it for that… I’d like to use it!

Can you guys share any resources you’ve used for these verb forms? Also if you have any media I can access that might give me examples, I’d really like to see/hear/read/listen to natives using these forms so I can see how it’s supposed to be.

Thank you so much!

You can try the search options on Jisho.

Want the honorific and humble words for “say”? Use “#words #hon say” and “#words #hum say”.

Popping anything into google with 例文 should get you good examples too.

satori reader has some examples in their dialog series. i would also like to see more to become more well practised using them :thinking:

I like using this for verb conjugations. It’s automated, so the may not all be always correct, but it hasn’t let me down yet. Especially in the simple polite and negative forms.

Edit: Realized this doesn’t really answer your question after posting. Sorry.

on jisho, at least web browser version, if you look up for example ‘to say’ and it gives you 言う, you can click on ‘show inflections’ and it will show you the various conjugations.

Yeah, that’s true… how does that one relate to being able to use the humble/honorific words though, specifically?

it shows polite forms in inflections, not really how to use necessarily but if we are talking forms it’s fine. something like this book might be more useful if you are really after a lot more involved coverage of the subject.

Polite conjugations are different from humble and honorific words, but yeah.

You can’t use 言う if you are speaking to someone truly above you (if you want to be proper about it), even if you use the polite forms. You need to use おしゃる when describing things they say and 申す for things you say.

Jisho is helpful for finding those pairs of words for various basic verbs.

fine, i chose the wrong word as an example, but the inflections on 申す entry are also there for its entry. you can’t expect a dictionary to teach you the ‘how’ of using them though. between the book i linked and some extensive guides that tofugu has, it’s not hard to find info.

Yeah, I didn’t mention using jisho it for the how, though there are usually basic example sentences. I think it’s handy to be able to filter by humble and honorific in searches. I suggested googling with 例文 as well for the “seeing Japanese people use it” part.

Hope this helps…had to convert to png to allow upload.


@Leebo @Hamigakiko Thank you both, I’ll try both of your suggestions!

@thornarm This chart is super useful! Gosh there’s so much to memorize. I made myself a course on memrise to help but it’s still so much. I’ll do my best. I’m also glad your files show how to express appreciation, because I plan to do that a lot in my card! ^u^

@alexbeldan I appreciate it anyways! I’ve used that conjugator before and I agree that it’s super useful! Maybe not here, but in general! Thanks!


Glad I could help. Some thoughts, from my Japanese teachers:

  1. Polite form (masu) is almost always adequate.
  2. Unless you are in business or government, you won’t need to use honorific, and even then, polite (masu) form is completely acceptable, especially for a foreigner.
  3. If you live in Japan, the most often you will be involved in honorific/humble usage is in restaurants, hotels, shops, i.e. the service industry, when people are talking to you.
  4. Most important: If you start using humble/honorific with someone, they may/will use it back, and then you can find yourself confused very quickly. This is why our Japanese teachers tell us we need to be able to recognize it, but don’t worry too much about generating it.

my $.02 :smiley:

My sensei told me almost exactly the same! But I thought it was expected to use honorific with strangers and people you hold in higher regard (teachers, upperclassmen, parents of others, etc)? I’m a little confused on that end. It seems to me like you’d use this speech with a majority of people.

Edit: I don’t think I posted that as a reply-- whoops :flushed:

If you click the reply button on a post, but yours comes directly after it, they don’t put the little arrow reply symbol on it. It’s assumed you’re replying to the post above you.

It’s not necessary to use honorific verbs with strangers, but with people you hold in higher regard it’s totally up to you. They’ll be cool with you just using polite speech without going full honorific most of the time.

Sorry I’m still pretty new on the community side.

I suppose that’s what he was telling me. Maybe I’ll save myself a little stress then and not worry too much, but I’d still like to learn. I don’t have any big plans for living or working in Japan but I like to show that I’m really trying.

Plus I really do just respect him a lot as a person and teacher!

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