Start Learning Japanese in the next 30 Seconds with
a Free Lifetime Account

Or sign up using Facebook

キレイ vs きれい

Moderators: Moderator Team, Admin Team

brian.koudijs_515480
New in Town
Posts: 2
Joined: February 15th, 2017 9:39 am

キレイ vs きれい

Postby brian.koudijs_515480 » November 24th, 2017 12:29 pm

こんいちは!

I have been studying Japanese a few months and consider myself an absolute newbie, so bare with me if this is a really silly question... :picket:
I do understand the difference between hiragana and katakana, but I sometimes see both mixed in a away that is not very clear to me. Today I saw for example きれい spelled in katakana and I don\t really understand why in this case.. What is the difference between キレイ and きれい, and when should you use one or the other?

ありがとございます!

thegooseking
Expert on Something
Posts: 216
Joined: October 17th, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: キレイ vs きれい

Postby thegooseking » November 28th, 2017 11:40 am

brian.koudijsさん、

As you know, katakana is often used for loanwords, but it does have a few other uses.

  • Onomatopoeic words (of which there are a lot in Japanese) are often written in katakana.
  • Some other things are often written in katakana, like the names of animals, e.g. サル - 'monkey'. This is especially true in scientific contexts.
  • Katakana can be used similar to the way italics are used in English, to emphasise something in text.
  • Some common words might be written in katakana - I think this feels more conversational (so, among other things, it's natural to use it when you're writing dialogues).
  • In some contexts (e.g. manga), katakana is used to indicate that the speaker is speaking Japanese, but with an unusual accent.
  • In graphic design, katakana is 'cool' and hiragana is 'cute', and the designer might decide between the two based only on that.

In the case of キレイ, I'd imagine it's simply because it's a common word (jisho.org actually does list the katakana as another form of the word, so it's probably about the word itself more than the context). You should generally stick with the hiragana in formal writing (it's rarely written in kanji), but the katakana is useful if you want to write in a more conversational tone.

小狼

Get up to 45% OFF
brian.koudijs_515480
New in Town
Posts: 2
Joined: February 15th, 2017 9:39 am

Re: キレイ vs きれい

Postby brian.koudijs_515480 » November 28th, 2017 11:52 am

小狼さん

Thanks so much for your explanation! :oiwai:

community.japanese
Expert on Something
Posts: 2704
Joined: November 16th, 2012 8:54 am

Re: キレイ vs きれい

Postby community.japanese » February 7th, 2018 4:56 pm

Hi all,

Thank you for your comments and helping each other!

Miki H
Team JapanesePod101.com

Return to “Learn All About Japanese”