Guide: How to Say “I Heard” in Japanese

Learning how to express yourself in different situations is crucial when studying a new language. In Japanese, the phrase “I heard” can be used to convey that you have received information from someone else. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various ways to say “I heard” in Japanese, including both formal and informal expressions. Let’s dive in!

Informal Expressions:

Informal phrases are commonly used among friends, family, and in casual settings. Here are a few ways to say “I heard” in an informal context:

1. 聞いたよ (Kiita yo)

This phrase is commonly used among friends and siblings. It translates to “I heard” and carries a friendly tone. For example:


(Tomodachi ga atarashii eiga o mita yo. Kiita yo.)

“My friend watched a new movie. I heard.”

2. 聞いてた (Kiite ta)

This expression is the casual past tense form of “I heard.” It is used when referring to something you heard in the past. For example:


(Kinou, sensei ga shukudai o dashita tte kiite ta.)

“Yesterday, I heard that the teacher assigned homework.”

Formal Expressions:

Formal phrases are suitable for more polite conversations, business settings, or when talking to someone of higher status. Let’s explore the formal ways to say “I heard” in Japanese:

1. お聞きしました (O-kikishimashita)

This polite expression is used to show respect and is often used during formal occasions. It translates to “I heard.” For example:


(Tanaka-san ga ryuugaku suru sou desu ne. O-kikishimashita.)

“I heard that Tanaka-san is going to study abroad.”

2. お聞きしましたが (O-kikishimashita ga)

This formal expression is used when adding information after saying “I heard.” It is a way to provide additional context or politely ask for clarification. For example:


(Yamada-san wa raishuu, yasumi da to o-kikishimashita ga, sore wa hontou desu ka.)

“I heard that Yamada-san will have a day off next week, but is it true?”

Regional Variations:

Japanese has slight regional variations in speech patterns and vocabulary. While the expressions mentioned above are commonly used throughout Japan, there are variations unique to certain regions. However, as a Japanese learner, it’s important to have a strong foundation in standard Japanese before delving into regional dialects.

Tips for Usage:

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when using the expressions for “I heard” in Japanese:

1. Context is Key

In Japanese, providing context is crucial for effective communication. Ensure that you provide enough information along with your “I heard” statement to avoid misunderstandings.

2. Observe Formality

Pay attention to the formality of the situation and adjust your language accordingly. Using informal expressions in formal settings can be seen as disrespectful, while using formal expressions in casual settings may sound overly polite.

3. Active Listening

Actively listening to conversations around you will help you become familiar with natural Japanese expressions. The more you expose yourself to the language, the easier it will be to understand and use different phrases, including “I heard.”


Congratulations! You’ve learned various ways to say “I heard” in Japanese. By mastering both informal and formal expressions, you’ll be able to navigate diverse social situations with ease. Remember to adapt your language based on the formality of the conversation and provide sufficient context to avoid confusion. Keep practicing and incorporating these phrases into your daily Japanese conversations, and you’ll soon become a confident communicator in the language. 頑張ってください!(Ganbatte kudasai! – Good luck!)

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