Mastering the Basics: How to Say ‘Really’ in Japanese

If you’re learning Japanese, you know that more often than not, many words and concepts don’t have a direct English equivalent. One such word is ‘really.’ While it seems like a simple enough word, there are various ways to express its meaning in Japanese. Knowing how to say ‘really’ in Japanese is essential for effective communication, whether it’s in casual conversations or more formal settings. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways to express ‘really’ in Japanese, provide translations and examples, and offer tips on how to master the art of its expression. So, read on to learn more about the Japanese word for really, how to express really in Japanese, the Japanese equivalent of really, how to pronounce really in Japanese, and the Japanese phrase for really.

Understanding the Concept of ‘Really’ in Japanese.

Learning how to say ‘really’ in Japanese involves understanding the cultural and linguistic context behind the concept. In the Japanese language, there are various ways to express the idea of ‘really,’ and each word carries its own connotation and usage.

How to say really in Japanese

The most common Japanese word for ‘really’ is ‘hontōni,’ which can be written as 本当に in kanji characters. ‘Hontōni’ is a versatile adverb that can be used in many different contexts, from expressing surprise to emphasizing the truthfulness of a statement.

Japanese word for really

Another commonly used word for ‘really’ in Japanese is ‘makoto ni,’ which can be written as 真に. ‘Makoto ni’ is often used in formal contexts, such as business or academic settings, and conveys a sense of sincerity and honesty.

Japanese equivalent of really

‘Jitsu ni,’ which can be written as 実に, is a more formal and literary way of expressing ‘really’ in Japanese. It is often used in written communication, such as letters or academic papers, and carries a weighty and serious tone.

Word Kanji Usage
Hontōni 本当に Versatile, informal
Makoto ni 真に Formal, sincere
Jitsu ni 実に Formal, literary

While these three words are the most commonly used to express ‘really’ in Japanese, there are other words and expressions that can convey similar meanings, such as ‘tohou ni,’ ‘honto,’ ‘honki de,’ and ‘majide.’

Common Japanese Words for ‘Really’

Learning how to say ‘really’ in Japanese involves understanding the different words that can be used to express this concept. Here are some common Japanese words for ‘really’ and their translations:

Japanese Word Translation
本当に (hontouni) Really/truly/genuinely
実は (jitsuwa) Actually
まじで (maji de) Seriously
ほんと (honto) Really
本気で (honki de) Really/seriously

Each of these words has a slightly different nuance and can be used in different situations. For example, ‘hontouni’ is a more formal and serious way of expressing ‘really’, while ‘maji de’ is commonly used in casual conversations among friends.

To choose the most appropriate word for a specific context, it is important to consider factors such as the formality of the situation, the relationship between the speaker and listener, and the speaker’s intention.

Once you have a good grasp of these different words, you can begin to explore how to use them effectively in different situations, as we will explore in the next section.

How to Express ‘Really’ in Different Contexts

Once you have mastered the basics of how to say ‘really’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand how to use the different words in different contexts. The Japanese language is heavily influenced by context and hierarchy, so it’s crucial to choose the appropriate word for the situation. Here are some examples:

Word or Phrase Usage
本当に (hontou ni) Used to express sincerity or truthfulness in formal situations. Can also be used as a standalone confirmation.
実は (jitsu wa) Used to express a surprising or unexpected truth in a casual or informal setting.
とても (totemo) Used to express a high degree or intensity of something in a neutral to casual setting.

It’s important to note that the tone and formality of the situation will heavily influence which word or phrase to use. For example, the word ‘honto’ would be more appropriate in a formal business setting, while ‘jitsu wa’ would be more appropriate in a casual conversation with friends.

Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to the tone and pitch of your voice when using these words. Using a higher pitch and a more exaggerated tone can emphasize the meaning of the word, while a lower pitch and more subdued tone can downplay it.

Examples of Usage:

Example 1: Your boss asks if you have finished a project.

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You respond, “Hontou ni moushiwake gozaimasen. I will have it finished by the end of the day.”

This response is formal and expresses sincerity.

Example 2: Your friend asks if you like sushi.

You respond, “Jitsu wa, suki janai.” (Actually, I don’t really like it.)

This response is casual and expresses a surprising or unexpected truth.

Example 3: Your coworker asks if you enjoyed the company party.

You respond, “Totemo tanoshikatta desu.” (I had a really good time.)

This response is neutral to casual and expresses a high degree or intensity of enjoyment.

Pronunciation Tips for ‘Really’ in Japanese

Learning how to pronounce the different Japanese words for ‘really’ is crucial for effective communication. Here are some tips to help you master the pronunciation:

Word Phonetic Pronunciation
本当に (hontouni) hohn-toh-nee
ほんとうに (hontouni) hohn-toh-nee
まじで (majide) mah-jee-deh
本気で (honkide) hohn-kee-deh
本当か (hontouka) hohn-toh-ka

Keep in mind that Japanese pronunciation is relatively straightforward, with each vowel corresponding to a single sound. Practice speaking slowly and clearly, and pay attention to the correct stress and rhythm of the words.

Tips for Pronouncing Japanese Syllables:

  • Pronounce vowels as follows:
    a = ‘ah’ as in ‘father’
    i = ‘ee’ as in ‘see’
    u = ‘oo’ as in ‘zoo’
    e = ‘eh’ as in ‘pet’
    o = ‘oh’ as in ‘no’
  • Consonants are pronounced uniformly, with no variation in sound.
  • Pay attention to vowel length, as some Japanese words have double vowels that require extra emphasis.

With practice and attention to detail, you can learn to pronounce the Japanese words for ‘really’ accurately and effectively.

Using Body Language and Tone to Emphasize ‘Really’

In Japanese culture, body language and tone play an important role in emphasizing the meaning of words. When expressing ‘really’ in Japanese, it is essential to use the appropriate gestures and intonations to convey the intended message.


One common gesture used in Japanese to emphasize ‘really’ is the nodding of the head while saying the word. This conveys a sense of agreement and conviction. Another gesture is to place one hand on the chest while saying ‘really’, which signifies sincerity and honesty.

It’s important to note, however, that excessive or inappropriate use of gestures may be seen as disrespectful or insincere. Use them sparingly and appropriately for the context and relationship with the person you are speaking to.


The tone of voice is also crucial in expressing ‘really’ in Japanese. Increasing the volume and pitch of your voice can convey excitement or surprise, while lowering the tone can convey seriousness or sincerity.

Additionally, the use of elongated vowels can emphasize the meaning of ‘really’. For example, saying ‘hontoo ni’ instead of just ‘honto’ can convey a stronger sense of conviction or surprise.


Mastery of body language and tone in Japanese takes practice and immersion in the language and culture. Observe native speakers and pay attention to their gestures and intonations when expressing ‘really’. Practice using these techniques in context-appropriate situations to develop a natural and effective communication style.

Ultimately, mastering the use of body language and tone to emphasize ‘really’ in Japanese will enhance your ability to effectively connect with others and express yourself in the language.

Common Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Learning a new language can be challenging, and Japanese is no exception. When it comes to expressing ‘really’, there are certain pitfalls that learners should be aware of to avoid misunderstandings.

Using the Wrong Word

One common mistake is using the wrong word to express ‘really’ in Japanese. As we mentioned earlier, there are several words that can mean ‘really’, but each has its own nuances and contexts. For example, using ‘honto’ instead of ‘makoto’ can convey a different tone and level of emphasis. To avoid confusion, it’s important to learn the appropriate word for the situation.

Overusing ‘Honto’

‘Honto’ is a common word for ‘really’ in Japanese, but overusing it can make you sound repetitive or insincere. It’s important to vary your expressions and use different words to avoid sounding like a broken record.

Ignoring Body Language and Tone

Body language and tone are just as important as the words you use to express ‘really’ in Japanese. If your body language and tone don’t match your words, it can send conflicting messages and cause confusion. Be mindful of your gestures and intonation to enhance the impact of your words.

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Not Adapting to the Context

Lastly, it’s important to adapt your expression of ‘really’ to the context. Using overly casual or formal language can be inappropriate depending on the situation. Pay attention to the social cues and adjust your language accordingly.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can communicate more effectively and confidently in Japanese.

Mastering the Art of ‘Really’ in Japanese

Learning how to say ‘really’ in Japanese is an important step towards effective communication in the language. By understanding the nuances of expressing ‘really’ in Japanese and using the appropriate words and gestures, learners can convey their message more accurately and efficiently. Here are some tips for mastering the art of ‘really’ in Japanese:

1. Practice using different words for ‘really’

As discussed earlier, there are several ways to express ‘really’ in Japanese. Practicing the use of different words in different contexts can help learners become more familiar with the language and feel more confident in their ability to communicate effectively.

2. Pay attention to pronunciation

Pronunciation is key in any language, and Japanese is no exception. Paying close attention to how native speakers pronounce the words for ‘really’ can help learners improve their own pronunciation and sound more natural when speaking.

3. Use appropriate body language and tone

Body language and tone are important aspects of communication, and using them appropriately when expressing ‘really’ in Japanese can enhance the impact of the word. Learners should pay attention to the gestures and intonations used by native speakers and practice incorporating them into their own conversations.

4. Avoid common mistakes

As with any language, there are common mistakes that learners of Japanese may make when trying to express ‘really’. These include using the wrong word for the context or mispronouncing the word. By being aware of these pitfalls and actively working to avoid them, learners can improve their overall communication skills in Japanese.

In conclusion, mastering the art of ‘really’ in Japanese takes practice and dedication. By understanding the nuances of expression and using appropriate words, body language, and tone, learners can become more fluent and natural in their expressions. So, keep practicing and don’t be afraid to engage with the language!


Q: How do you say ‘really’ in Japanese?

A: There are several ways to express ‘really’ in Japanese. Some common words include “hontōni,” “makoto ni,” and “jitsuni.” Each word has slight nuances and usage variations, so it’s important to understand the context in which you want to use ‘really’ in order to choose the most appropriate word.

Q: What is the Japanese word for ‘really’?

A: The Japanese word for ‘really’ can vary depending on the situation and the specific nuance you want to express. As mentioned earlier, some common words for ‘really’ in Japanese are “hontōni,” “makoto ni,” and “jitsuni.” Each word has its own distinct meaning and usage.

Q: How do I pronounce ‘really’ in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation of ‘really’ in Japanese can vary depending on the specific word you are using. However, a general guide for pronunciation would be: “hontōni” (hohn-toh-nee), “makoto ni” (mah-koh-toh nee), and “jitsuni” (jee-tsuh-nee).

Q: How do I emphasize ‘really’ in Japanese using body language and tone?

A: In Japanese communication, body language and tone play a significant role in conveying emphasis and meaning. To emphasize ‘really,’ you can use gestures such as nodding your head vigorously, widening your eyes, or using a strong tone of voice. These non-verbal cues can enhance the impact of your expression.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when expressing ‘really’ in Japanese?

A: One common mistake is using the word “hontōni” in inappropriate contexts. It is important to understand the appropriate usage of each word for ‘really’ and avoid using them interchangeably. Additionally, using the wrong tone or body language can also lead to misunderstandings. It’s crucial to be mindful of cultural context and adapt your communication style accordingly.

Q: How can I master the art of expressing ‘really’ in Japanese?

A: To master the art of expressing ‘really’ in Japanese, it’s important to practice using the different words and phrases in various contexts. Engaging with native speakers, taking language classes, and immersing yourself in Japanese culture can also greatly enhance your language skills. Continuous practice and exposure will help you become more fluent and natural in your expressions.

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