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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Absolute Beginner Questions Answered by Hiroko, where I’ll answer some of *your* most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is… What's the difference between MINA-SAN and MINNA?
When you want to say “everyone” or “all of you” in Japanese, can you use “mina-san” and “minna” interchangeably?
The Japanese language has three spoken expressions when you want to say "everyone" or "all of you". They are min-na, mina-san and mina-sama.
“Min-na” is most frequently used in informal speech. When you’re talking to your family or friends, you can use "min-na". It sounds more friendly than the others.
"Mina-san" is used as often as min-na but it is more polite than "min-na". When you are talking to people who you don't know very well, such as your coworkers or neighbors, you should use "mina-san" rather than "min-na. However, even when you address people you know very well, for example, classmates, you can use “mina-san” in formal situations such as class meetings and speech meetings.
"Mina-sama" is the most polite expression of the three. It is used when you talk to people you don't know, or for whom you should show respect. For example, if you work for a store, you use "mina-sama" when you talk to your customers. "Mina-sama" is especially common in formal speeches and in the written language.
I hope this makes sense to you and you’re able to use "min-na”, “mina-san” and “mina-sama” correctly from now on!
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!