Wild Nihongo!


お~になる Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: Describes someone’s actions respectfully


  • お + Verb ます-Form + になる
    • E.g. はなしになる [X speaks]
    • E.g. おしえになる [X teaches]


  • The お~になる construction is used to describes someone’s action or state with respect when the speaker respects the subject or when social norms require that the speaker use honorific language. The politeness is conveyed by the honorific お prefix and the indirect verb なる [To become]. In Japanese, indirectness indicates honorific-ness.
    • E.g. 田中たなか先生せんせいはもうおかえりになった。[Tanaka-sensei already went home.] The usage of the お~になる construction clearly indicates the speaker’s respect for Tanaka-sensei.
  • Certain verbs have their own special honorific forms. For example, the honorific form of いる (Animate Being), , and is いらっしゃる and the special formal form of する is なさる. So when speaking honorifically, する verbs follow the structure お / ご~なさる rather than お~になる. Because most する verbs are Chinese in origin, they are typically formed as ご~なする rather than お~なさる. However, some notable exceptions include 電話でんわなさる [To call], 勉強べんきょうなさる [To study], 料理りょうりなさる [To cook], 洗濯せんたくなさる [To do the laundry],掃除そうじなさる [To clean], and 散歩さんぽなさる [To stroll / To go for a walk].
    • E.g. 小山こやま先生せんせい四月しがつにご結婚けっこんなさいます。[Koyama-sensei will get married in April.]
    • E.g. 森本もりもとさんにお電話でんわなさいましたか。 [Did you call Morimoto-san?]
  • Politeness can also be conveyed through the passive voice, however this construction is less honorific than お~になる.
    • E.g. 田中たなか先生せんせいはもうかえられましたか。[Has Tanaka-sensei already left?]
    • E.g. このほんをもうまれましたか。[Have you already read this book?]

Example Sentences:

田中たなか先生せんせいはもうおかえりになった。[Tanaka-sensei already went home.]

このほんをもうまれましたか。[Have you already read this book?]

グッドマン先生せんせいわたし名前なまえをおわすれになった。[Goodman-sensei forgot my name.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 0:35: さぁ、どうぞ、りになって [Well, go ahead, please have a seat] In this example, the お in おすわり blends in with the O sounds in どうぞ. You can hear another example at 1:44 with this line: もういいや、かえりになって [It’s all right now, please go home]

***YouTube videos may be region-locked depending on your country of origin. If you experience issues, please try using a VPN set to a United States IP address.***