N4 honorifics / humble - totally lost


this is my first major stumble, but I can’t figure what bunpro request of me when these items are in my review queue.

I found that topic but it seems nothing was done since, or I just can’t puzzle even with the changes JLPT4 Honorifics/Humble

There are these two major blocks:


Hororific (!)

There are also these two that I mix up sometimes

Any (good) pointers?


No help from me, but I also think something should be done about these. Every time I get one of these right it seems like I was lucky, and not that I knew what to write. Something as simple as giving us an idea of the politness level would be a great help (this is mentioned at the end of the post you linked to). So instead of having just that orange ! HONORIFIC, we would get ! HUMBLE, ! EVEN MORE HUMBLE, ! HONORIFIC, ! EXTREMELY HONORIFIC, etc. We would have to memorize it, but it’s better than nothing and in the long run it would actually be more helpful, I think.


Yeah found these tough two. What helped me is to write them all down next to each other with a short recap. That helped me to see the similarities and differences.
First step, understand the difference between humble and honorific. Then understand the differences between the different flavours within the categories.
Still get it wrong a lot.
It is a problem with the individual lesson style really.


I don’t think I’ll ever burn these. I’m just relying on brute forcing it and hoping they will eventually stick if I do enough ghosts and am exposed to them all enough times.


I feel less alone, but it looks like these items need profound rework…
taging @Asher

We’re currently taking a look at these (in addition to many other grammar points), to see how we can make it easier to find the correct answer. Possibly what we’ll end up doing is rewriting the hints/slightly adjusting the sentences so that they lead to the correct answer more effectively.


Also recently was going mad trying to figure out the differences here.

One thing that helped me upon recap is that I think お〜する more commonly references your own personal actions, whereas maybe いたす is more to do with the actions of your inner group? Maybe, I’m still not sure.

I think spacing all these really similar points out over different lesson batches would help massively. All the honorific/humble stuff coming right at the end of N4 is really overwhelming. Perhaps slowly drip-feeding them in throughout the course of N4 would be better? @Asher


We used to have them separated, but got exactly the same feedback. The problem right now is twofold. Some of the points are 100% interchangable in certain sentences, and we’re simply unable to say one is right while the other is ‘wrong’.

Like many grammar structures in English, sometimes there are just several ways to say things equally correctly. Secondly, some of our hints don’t give enough leading advice. For example ‘Try something more polite’ is a style of hint that we want to eventually stop using, as things aren’t always so black and white when it comes to politeness/many other grammar patterns. Reflecting that, we don’t want users to think it is so black and white either.

One of our intentions in the very near future is to rewrite many hints in a way that reflects both sides of the issue. For example, if you use お〜する instead of いたす, the hint that would be triggered will be something like ‘お〜する is usually used in relation to XYZ. Let’s try something that is usually used when ABC’.

There would be consistency through all of these hints in a way that would actually reinforce things that are important to remember, rather than simply less/more polite.


Thanks for the feedback. I’m sure it will help.

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my eternal leeches/ghosts

these and the passive form.

I never remember when I do the action or receive the action, the ‘ending particle’.


While there’s no way that this is comprehensive and is going to solve the 100% of your question, remember that 敬語 works in 3 ways: it either makes whatever you’re saying into polite ( 丁寧語), “lowers” your status ( 謙譲語), or “increases” the status of whomever you’re talking to (尊敬語).

By combining these, you increase or decrease the level of formality and/or politeness. The point is that the greater the “distance” and who you’re talking to, you either put them on a pedestal, lower yourself, or both. It’s tricky but keep at it!



“How about よみましょう.”

A little more humble

“OK then, how about およみいたしましょう.”

This is a little over the top for this situation. You are close though!

およみましょう apparently isn’t a thing and the answer was およみしましょう. I’m never going to get these. lol

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