Grammar detail: あなた

あなた - you
182 words
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あなた means 'you'. However, in Japanese, it is generally not used in many of the situations where 'you' would be used in English, and in fact, it is safer to omit it than to use it.
  • When a sentence has no subject, the sentence automatically applies to the speaker or listener, so there is no need to make that explicit. For example, the sentence おいしいと
    う can mean either 'I think it's tasty' or 'do you think it's tasty', but from the context and intonation it would be easy to distinguish the two.
  • When talking to anyone more senior than you, or anyone in any kind of position of authority (such as a teacher or official), the person's (family) name + さん, or the person's job title + さん should be used.
  • Even at home, it would be more common to refer to a relation in the third person (eg with お
    さんが...) than to use あなた. (Interestingly, this is also common in English, but typically only with small children, where parents tend to refer to themselves in the third person.)
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