Updated: Feb 11, 2019
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こんにちは, Japanese learners! Welcome back to Teach Me Japanese.
Today, we’re taking a bit of a break from cultural lessons to learn how to make
requests in Japanese. There are many ways to make requests, with varying levels
of formality, and we will try to cover all of them here.
Before we get started, make sure you have read our lesson on te-form, as you will
need it for this lesson.
You can simply use a verb in te-form to make a request of someone:
However, this method is very casual and comes across as though you are making
a demand, so you should only use it with close friends and family.
ください is often translated as meaning “please”, and it is a more polite way
of asking for something. If you want to ask for a specific item, such as ordering
food at a restaurant, you can use ～をください.
You can use a verb in te-form + ください to politely ask someone to do
something for you.
To make it even more polite, you can use くださいませんか.
おねがい means either “please” or “request”. Unlike most of the items on this
list, おねがい can be used by itself. (In casual conversation of course)
To make おねがい polite, we add します.
Like ください, you can say ～をお願いします to request a certain thing.
This means turning お願い into a suru verb by adding the suru ending, and
changing the suru ending into masu form makes it polite. If you need a
reminder on masu form, please refer to this lesson.
ちょうだい can also be used on its own, and it can also be translated as
You can combine it with te-form to request an action.
This use of ちょうだい is really casual. However, there are more polite ways
to use ちょうだい as well. Just as with お願い, ちょうだい can be made into
a suru verb. This is often done in formal or business situations.
In masculine speech, くれ is a rough way of asking for something. It’s more
of a demand than a request.
You can combine くれ with te-form to demand an action.
くれる means “to give”, but unlike あげる, くれる is only used for inward
giving (i.e. someone gives something to you or someone close to you.) You
can use くれる with te-form to ask a favor.
Since くれる is a verb, you can make it polite using masu form.
To make it even more indirect and polite, you can make くれる negative.
This doesn’t change the meaning.
もらう means “to receive”, and the potential form of もらう is もらえる.
Potential form changes the meaning to “can receive”, so it makes sense that
もらえる can be used to ask for favors (i.e. Can I recieve…). It is most often
combined with te form to request an action and can be conjugated to masu
form to make it polite.
You can make it negative to make it even more indirect, and thus more
We will go over potential form of verbs in a future lesson. For now you can
just memorize the phrase as is ( :
As discussed in our te form lesson, te form + もいい indicates asking
permission to do something. In this case the verb is もらう, so you are
asking for permission to “receive” something.
In casual conversation, you can drop “も”
And of course you can combine it with te form to ask a favor.
いただく is the polite version of もらう, or “to receive”. In this case we use it
just as we use もらう, changing it into potential form to request something.
And that wraps up today’s lesson! If you have any questions or comments, sign up to leave them below or post in the forum! You can also get a hold of us via our contact page!
As always, がんばってね！