Learning how to ask people “how they are” in Japanese with “Genki desu ka(げんきですか)”.

Hey guys, 元気ですか how are you all today? Today we are going to be looking at how to use the super common phrase “genki deus ka(げんきですか)” in Japanese.

Learn the common Japanese phrase, “Genki desu ka(げんきですか)”
Learn the common Japanese phrase, “Genki desu ka(げんきですか)”

If you are brand new to Japanese learning, then you have most likely never heard this phrase before. However, if you have been learning for a while and still haven’t heard it, shame on you. This is the bread and butter of Japanese phrases and probably the most popular when It comes to greetings.

Today we are going to be breaking down the origins of the phrase, looking at how to use it in conversation and then finally, looking at some practice situations that you can use to help implement it in your own Japanese right away.

Let’s get into today’s lesson guys and start learning this super popular phraase, we can’t wait to share this with you.

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So what is 元気ですか Genki desu ka(げんきですか)?

So what is “genki desu ka(げんきですか)”? Well, most people equate this to the English meaning “how are you”. Although this is an interpretation of the phrase, fundamentally it is different.  When you ask someone in English “How are you” you can have a multitude of answer right? Not good, amazing, could be better, as so forth. In Japanese 元気ですか is asking you specifically if you are “Genki”.

Now Genki means “lively; full of spirit; energetic; vigorous; vital; spirited​” in Japanese. So you are technically asking “are you full of energy” which is closet to the English phrase, “are you well?”

Keep this in mind as we move on as there are certain ways to reply to this question. Now we are going to move on to how you can use it in conversation and also how you can reply to this too.

How can I use 元気ですか Genki desu ka(げんきですか) in my speech?

So how can you start using “genki desu ka” in your speech?

“Genki desu ka(げんきですか)” is used at the very beginning of an interaction with someone. Usually after a common greeting like:

Ohayou Gozaimsu
Good morning
Good day
Good Evening

Once that initial phrase is out of the way, you can move onto 元気ですか to start initiating the conversation.

So how do I reply? Well there are a few different ways that you can come back to this sentence. Firstly, if you are feeling “genki” you can say, “げんきです” which simply means, “yeah, I’m fine”. You could also disagree and say 元気ではない “Genki de wa nai”  which means “I’m not fine”.

If you want to be more casual you can use the following phrases:

Genki da yo
I’m fine
Genki Jyanai
I’m not fine

If you want to be even more formal you can simply just say 元気? “Genki?” This is to be used more with friends and family so be sure to keep that in mind so you don’t offend seniors or people you have jsut met..

It’s time to practice using the common Japanese phrase 元気ですか Genki desu ka(げんきですか)

So now we are going to practice how to use the phrase “Genki desu ka(げんきですか)” in real conversation. Below are two basic Japanese conversations. What we want you to do is read these to yourself over and over again. From this, you should try and recreate these scenarios, word for word, in your head, This way, you will be able to master the use of basic greeting in Japanese.

Conversation 1:

Person A: こんにちは
Person A: Good day!
Person B: こんにちは
Person B: Good day!Person A: 元気ですか
Person A: Are you well?
Person B: 元気です
Person B: Yeah, I’m well

Conversation 2:

Person A: こんばんは
Person A: Good evening
Person B: こんばんは
Person B: Good evening
Person A: 元気?
Person A: you well?
Person B: 元気じゃない
Person B: nope, i'm not!

As you can see both of these conversations are different in terms of formality too, so make sure you take extra care in using them in the right situations. Read them over many times until you internalise them and then finally repeat them back to yourself in your head. You can instantly go out and have conversation with Japanese people once you have this down too so that’s super exciting.

So guys, this brings us to the end of today’s online Japanese lesson. We really hope that you enjoyed the lesson today and that you will come back again soon to check out more amazing online Japanese articles from bondlingo.  

As always, if you have any questions or content that you want us to write about please do not hesitate to get in touch as we always love hearing your ideas. 

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