My previous question revealed that the context for 本人 should be much more formal than I thought. Below is an example from last year’s 閱讀課: enter image description here Is this guy trying to impress his potential landlord with his mastery of formal language and ongoing PhD? In my native languages, informal language would be OK! I asked my teacher the same question last year and her opinion was, you didn’t need a formal context, as long as it was written. I suppose some deep mystery is hiding here, not easy to grasp for 老外. Perhaps I need to understand what “formal” means to Chinese.

Next, an example from the Internet, taken from here and a google plus profile: enter image description here

enter image description here

Is this due to regional differences? Can Taiwanese natives please comment on whether this is natural to them?

A further example from the internet, found here, seems to start somewhat formally and then finish totally colloquially with 求計算機大神導致: enter image description here

Perhaps 本人是⋯ is a special case? Because this platform seems full of it: enter image description here

  • Like what have been said in fefe's answer, 本人 is used more than 我 in this kind of contexts. It might sound a bit more formal. Compare 本人是一名台湾人 vs 我是一名台湾人,the former is more used in a formal post, ads and etc. The latter is usually used in a story telling, novel and etc.
    – dan
    Jun 17, 2018 at 12:18
  • @dan if 本人 can be used in a post to express seriousness, wouldn’t it be very appropriate in my text from the other question, about the sack of a city? I am guessing, the problem is that my Chinese is by far not good enough too write the entire text in formal language. Then off course it sounds very awkward/ridiculous. One of the comments said that, but then didn’t make it into an answer.
    – Ludi
    Jun 17, 2018 at 12:33
  • I think you are writing a story of yours there, and not a formal post like above examples. Right?
    – dan
    Jun 17, 2018 at 12:43
  • @dan in that text I am explaining why the 29th of May (when the city of Constantinople fell) is considered unlucky in Greek culture. Because we are not normally allowed to write this day, I mentioned that it is 10 days after my HSK exam. Other than that, I don’t mention myself. The status of this day in traditional culture is (perhaps unjustifiably) similar to the massacre of Nanjing for Chinese. :’(
    – Ludi
    Jun 17, 2018 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


In all your cases, the writers are deliberately trying to sound formal.

In the first piece of article, the writer is asking to rent a house. It is quite common in China for this kind of article to use "formal" language.

And using formal languages can make people sound "serious". On "知乎", people use this kind of language to show that they are seriously seeking for an answer to their questions, but not just randomly poking around. For the colloquial "求計算機大神導致", "知乎" is an internet Q/A service, so it is quite common for this kind colloquial phrases to appear. (It might be kind of scary for an article made up of purely formal language to appear here.)

"本人" does not usually appear in (one-on-one) conversations. So it may be also rare in (one-on-one) text chat. But if one is sending a message to many people, he usually changes into a somewhat "formal" language, if he is indeed serious about the message.

In all the quotes in your question, there would not be any problem replacing "本人" with "我". The seriousness of the text is not carried by "本人" only, so there would not be too much difference.

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