The battle of the Japanese Conjunctions, Informal VS Formal usage :A look into the world of conjunctions and a practical comparison of informal vs formal usages.

Conjunction #1 But [Shikashi] – For Japanese beginners
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The battle beings: What is a Japanese conjunction anyway?

Conjugate, conjugate, conjugate. Today we are going to be looking at the use of formal and informal conjunctions in Japanese. What is a conjugation you might ask? Well … let’s first clear that up. By definition, “A word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (e.g. and, but, if ).” Get it now? You hear these conjunctions every time you listen to, read or speak Japanese.

They play an important role in language through joining bit of information together. Im sure you can think of a lot of these in both English and Japanese, but let’s first look at some of these just so we understand their uses.

Japanese Conjunction Examples

Dakara - だから - so/thus

Dakara can be used at the start of a sentence, or in the middle of a sentence to connect two ideas.

Kedo – けど – But

Kedo (however sometimes keredo) is a conjunction that follows a clause. It can mean but.

 Noni – のに – Even though

Noni is used when what is said in the latter sentence goes against what is expected in the first sentence

Temo – ても – Even If

Temo is used when the opposite result/action happens to what people normally expected

Here are some more:

  • そして- Soshite – And then
  • それで – Sorede – So
  • それから- Sore kara – And then
  • しかし –  Shikashi – However

Great, we have done it!  I’m sure by now you’ve grasped the concept of what a conjunction actually is, so now we need to get down to what we are really here for, Formal vs Informal Conjunctions. In the next section we will look closely at why, when and how to use informal vs formal conjunctions. Let’s go! 

Formal vs Informal Japanese Conjunctions: why, when and how!

So you know how to use conjunctions pretty well, that’s great. However, the identification of a formal vs informal conjugation is extremely important to keep in mind. A casual conjugation such as でも(but) is perfect for using in a conversation with a friend, family member, general chit chat and informal writing. However, it’s formal counterpart, しかしながら (but), is used for formal writing, business situations and other formal events.

As you can see here, the selection of the correct form of conjugation is extremely important and should be paid attention too. You should spend some time writing a sentence with a formal conjunction and then the same sentence in an informal way. With this method, you will soon be able to get used to understanding which form to use and get comfortable knowing that you will not offend anyone or even come off as too formal in certain situations.

Let’s now look at some more examples of Japanese conjugations in their formal and informal forms this should help you get a better grasp when looking at different conjugations that express the same meanings.

Examples of Japanese conjugations

Conjunction InformalFormal
If soならそうなれば、
Althoughなのに それにもかかわらず
And thenで  そのご
Or    それかあるいは
In other wordsというか いわば

Yeah, there is definitely a lot of conjugations to remember, and this is only really scratching the surface of how many there are out there. If in doubt, it’s always better to be too formal than not formal enough, that should be a great rule to stick with. Though, as a learner it is completely fine to make mistakes on your way up. The Japanese are very forgiving to new learners.

But you should really take the time to list out all of the current informal conjugation that you know currently and now research, and list next to them, the formal versions of the same. This way you will quickly get used to using formal and informal conjugations quickly and naturally.

If you feel that it’s overwhelming and may result in your brain getting frazzled, take a step back and focus on a couple at a time. Don’t try and learn all of the conjunction at once, that will do more harm than good! This is something we really want to stress with learning Japanese. If you find yourself being overwhelmed that’s completely natural but it takes a certain level of confusion and challenge to really know that you are growing and learning, the dots will join together in the end guys, don’t worry.


Okay guys, I hope today’s article on formal vs informal Japanese conjunctions has been insightful for you and be sure to keep pushing yourself to be the best Japanese learner you can be. Have a great day people and we will see you in the next online Japanese lesson. またね。

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Japanese Conjunctions : Linking one word at a time