Personal pronouns


Although the Japanese language does have personal pronouns (人代名詞 【じんだいめいし】), they are not as commonly used as in Western languages. Using personal pronouns puts a lot of stress on the subject and can often sound either self-centred or accusatory. Instead of using personal pronouns, the Japanese prefer to refer to another person by title or function, or by that person’s name.

There are several synonyms for each personal pronoun, often with different levels of politeness. Some personal pronouns are for exclusive used by women; others are exclusively used by men.

I / mewatakushiFormal
-watashiPolite
-bokuInformal / Masculine
-あたしatashiInformal / Feminine
-oreRude - Masculine
youあなたanataPolite
-kimiInformal
-お前o-maeRude - Masculine
he, himkare-
she, her彼女kanojo-
he, him / she, herあの方ano kataFormal
--あの人ano hito
we, us私達watakushitachiFormal
-私達watashitachiPolite
-僕達bokutachiInformal - Masculine
-あたし達atashitachiInformal - Feminine
-俺等oreraRude - Masculine
youあなた方anatagata-
-あなた達anatatachiPolite
-君達kimitachiInformal
-お前等o-maeraRude - Masculine
they, themあの方々ano katagataFormal
-あの方達ano katatachiFormal
-あの人達ano hitotachi-
-彼等karera-
-彼女達kanojotachiAll women

Personal and possessive pronouns are used only in situations where there could be some confusion as to whom is referred to. Once the topic has been established pronouns are usually no longer used.

だれがウイスキーでした?
Dare ga uisukii deshita?
Who had the whisky?

あたしです。
Atashi desu.
That’s me.

へ~、ウイスキー飲みますか。
Hee, uisukii nomimasu ka.
Huh? Do you drink whisky?

Possessive pronouns


Possessive pronouns (所有代名詞 【しょゆうだいめいし】) are formed by simply placing the particle の (no) after the respective personal pronoun.

Personal Pronouns--Possessive Pronouns--
watakushiI, me私のwatakushi nomy, mine
watashiI, me私のwatashi nomy, mine
bokuI, me僕のboku nomy, mine
あたしatashiI, meあたしのatashi nomy, mine
oreI, me俺のore nomy, mine
あなたanatayouあなたのanata noyour, yours
kimiyou君のkimi noyour, yours
お前o-maeyouお前のo-mae noyour, yours
あの方ano katahe, him / she, herあの方のano kata nohis / her, hers
あの人ano hitohe, him / she, herあの人のano hito nohis / her, hers
karehe, him彼のkare nohis
彼女kanojoshe, her彼女のkanojo noher, hers
私達watakushitachiwe, us私達のwatakushitachi noour, ours
私達watashitachiwe, us私達のwatashitachi noour, ours
僕達bokutachiwe, us僕達のbokutachi noour, ours
あたし達atashitachiwe, usあたし達のatashitachi noour, ours
俺等orerawe, us俺等のorera noour, ours
あなた方anatagatayouあなた方のanatagata noyour, yours
あなた達anatatachiyouあなた達のanatatachi noyour, yours
君達kimitachiyou君達のkimitachi noyour, yours
お前等o-maerayouお前等のo-maera noyour, yours
あの方々ano katagatathey, themあの方々のano katagata notheir, theirs
あの方達ano katatachithey, themあの方達のano katatachi notheir, theirs
あの人達ano hitotachithey, themあの人達のano hitotachi notheir, theirs
彼等karerathey, them彼等のkarera notheir, theirs
彼女達kanojotachithey, them彼女達のkanojotachi notheir, theirs

When the possessive pronoun is followed by a noun it is translated as my, your, her, and so on, when the possessive pronoun is used by itself, it is translated as mine, yours, hers, etc.

誰の手紙なの?
Dare no tegami na no?
Whose letter is it?

彼女のオートバイです。
Kanojo no ootobai desu.
It’s her motorbike.

全部僕等のだ。
Zenbu bokura no da.
It’s all ours.