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Teach Us, Teacher

Honorific O and GO (Lesson 31)

When we want to show respect to the listener or the person we are talking about, we say O or GO before nouns or adjectives concerning that person. For example, SHIGOTO (work) becomes OSHIGOTO. GENKI (healthy) becomes OGENKI. And KAZOKU (family) becomes GOKAZOKU. Also, to make expressions generally more polite, we often add O or GO before nouns. Some nouns are almost always used with O or GO. OCHA (tea) and OBÂSAN (Grandma, a grandmother, an old woman), in this lesson, are among them.

On the other hand, some nouns never take O or GO. This includes loan words from foreign languages such as KAMERA (a camera, cameras).

Then, you may wonder when we use O, and when GO. We use GO with nouns originally from China. For all the other nouns, we use O. But it might be difficult to tell which words came from China. So, please memorize them, whenever nouns with O or GO come up.
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