【Japanese vocabulary: suffix after person’s name】 くん (kun)、さん (san)、ちゃん (chan)

Vocabulary
Vocabulary
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On this page, you can learn about basic Japanese suffixes which are used after people’s name including さん and ちゃん.

Introduction

If you want to be polite when you call somebody’s name in English, you put Mr, Mrs or Ms in front of their surname.

In Japanese, you put a suffix at the end of somebody’s name to be polite or nice to them. Most of them can follow either surname or first name.

There is no way to translate them into English if they are used with first name as English does not have words for it.

さん(sa n)

さん is the most common to be used in a daily life when you want to say somebody’s name in a respectful way. さん can be used for male and female.

Example
  • さとうさん (Mr Sato)
  • かよさん (Kayo)
できる子
できる子
  • さとう is a surname.
  • かよ is a first name for girls.

くん(ku n)

くん is used when you want to call a boy‘s name in a polite way. くん is usually used until around the time of puberty.

Example
  • たなかくん (Mr Tanaka)
  • たかしくん (Takashi)
できる子
できる子
  • たなか is a surname.
  • たかし is a first name for boys.

ちゃん(cha n)

ちゃん is used when you want to call a girl‘s name in a polite way. It follows first name only. ちゃん is usually used until around the time of puberty.

Example
  • ちかちゃん (Chika)
  • めぐみちゃん (Megumi)
アシスタント
アシスタント

ちか and めぐみ are first names for girls.

ちゃん can be also used after the following names:

  • little boy
  • little pet
  • close friend
がんばる子
がんばる子

Use ちゃん for something small and cute.

さま

さま is 様 in Kanji.

How to write 様

さま is used if you want to show more respect than さん.

Example
  • かとうさま (Mr Kato)
  • なおこさま (Naoko)
できる子
できる子
  • かとう is a surname.
  • なおこ is a first name for girls.
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