Male/Female Speech

As opposed to polite speech, which is mostly gender-neutral, casual speech has many constructions that make it sound masculine or feminine to varying degrees. Of course, you do not have to be a specific gender to use either masculine or feminine manners of speech but you do need to be aware of the differences and the impression it gives to the listener. The first example of this is how 「ね」 and 「よ」 are used in casual speech.

Declarative 「だ」

The declarative 「だ」 is attached to nouns and na-adjectives to give it a more declarative tone and make the state-of-being explicit. This is important in some grammatical forms we will cover later. For now, we can use it in casual Japanese to give a more definitive, confident, and somewhat masculine tone (though females often use it as well). For males, in particular, it is important to use it before 「ね」 or 「よ」 to avoid sounding too feminine.

Note: Only attach 「だ」 to nouns and na-adjectives. Never to i-adjectives.


  1. 日本語 【に・ほん・ご】 – Japanese language
  2. 上手 【じょう・ず】(na-adj) – skillful, good at
  3. 楽しい 【たの・しい】(i-adj) – fun

Toggle Translations

  1. 日本語は、上手ね。
    As for Japanese, (you’re) good at it, aren’t you?(feminine)
  2. 日本語は、上手ね。
    As for Japanese, (you’re) good at it, aren’t you?(masculine)
  3. 日本語は、楽しいよ。
    As for Japanese, (it’s) fun, you know.(gender-neutral as 「だ」 cannot be used for i-adjectives)

Comic 3

  1. おはよう – Good Morning (casual)
  2. 元気 【げん・き】(na-adj) – healthy; lively
  3. 眠い 【ねむ・い】(i-adj) – sleepy
  4. でも – but
  5. もう – already
  6. 昼 【ひる】 – afternoon
  7. じゃ – then (abbr. of それでは)
  8. こんにちは – Good day
  9. お休み 【お・やす・み】 – Good night (expression for going to sleep)


Toggle Translations

John: Alice-chan, good morning.
Alice: Morning, how are (you)?
John: Sleepy.
Alice: But (it’s) already afternoon, you know.
John: Is that so? Then, good afternoon.
Alice: Good afternoon.
John: Good night.

The homework is easy!

  1. 宿題 【しゅく・だい】 (n) – homework
  2. 難しい 【むずか・しい】 (i-adj) – difficult
  3. 簡単 【かん・たん】 (na-adj) – easy
  4. うーん – umm
  5. 多分 【た・ぶん】 – probably; maybe
  6. どっち – which one; which way

アリス: 宿題は、難しい?
ジョン: 簡単よ!
アリス: 本当?
ジョン: うーん、多分難しいよ。
アリス: どっちよ。

Toggle Translations

Alice: As for homework, (is it) difficult?
John: It’s easy!
Alice: Really?
John: Umm, (it’s) probably difficult.
Alice: Which is it?

Because John is male, he decides to use 「だ」 with 「よ」 with the na-adjective 「簡単」. However, regardless of gender, you cannot use 「だ」 with i-adjectives so he says 「難しいよ」. 「難しいよ」 is grammatically incorrect.

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