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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 O-GENKI and GENKI?
When you ask “how have you been?” to someone you haven’t seen for a while, you can use “o-genki desu ka”, “genki desu ka” and just “genki?”.
The “o” is an honorific prefix and is used for other people only. “O-genki desu ka” is the most polite expression of these three and is used to people you don’t know well or people in higher positions.
“genki desu ka” is more polite than ”genki?” and is used by people in higher positions to people in lower positions. For example, teachers to students and superiors to subordinates.
“genki?” is the most casual and is used among friends.
When you are answering these questions, you should not use ‘o’, even though the question is “o-genki desu ka”. The reason is that you should not use a respectful expression to refer to yourself. When you are answering this kind of question, please say ‘hai, genki desu.’
I hope this makes sense to you and you’re able to use "o-genki” and “genki” correctly from now on!
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!