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I've recently started using the expression 頂ければと思います, but I'm not 100% sure about its precise nuance.

Is there any difference in nuance between

  • 頂ければと思います
  • 頂けませんか
  • 頂きたいんですけども?

To my non-native ear, the first feels formal, the second very standard and the third a tad more casual. Apart for the difference in usage that would ensue, is there any difference in directness (in the sense that ~を頂戴 is more direct than ~を下さい)?

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When I hear/read ~~頂ければと思います, I think like "I don't have to respond to this." or "I don't have to do it if I don't want to". When I someone says to me 頂けませんか/頂きたいんですけど, I'll probably think I have to do it, or I have to respond to it at least. –  Chocolate Dec 8 '12 at 12:30
So 頂ければと思います is somewhat less direct than 頂けませんか... Do you want to make this into an answer? I need to boost my accept rate ;) –  Earthliŋ Dec 8 '12 at 12:47
I think you have slightly complicated the question as to which is more polite by taking 頂きたいんですけども:I don't think it is wrong but 頂きたいんですが seems more comparable to 頂けませんか –  Tim Dec 10 '12 at 11:56
@Tim Hm... I could add 頂きたいんですが to the list, but I don't see how けども complicates the question. Would you mind explaining why you think ですが is more comparable than ですけども? –  Earthliŋ Dec 10 '12 at 12:03
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1 Answer

  • ~て頂ければと思います comes from something like -te itadakereba (saiwai) to omoimasu (as far as I know). It's most certainly polite, but it does have an ellipsis in the middle, and that's not good, usually, in terms of politeness. It means "If you could just do~ (I would be glad/you would save me/etc.)"... so you're asking for a favor, but you don't really think the listener will say "no" as a reply.
  • ~て頂けませんか is (the most) polite and formal. It's still a real question, and this is really important, specially in terms of politeness.
  • ~て頂きたいんですけども isn't a question and you have "n-desu kedo", explicative form, plus a contraction (that I really don't like because of gaaru's way of speaking... but this is a matter of personal preference). At least I would use ...keredomo.

I'd use the first one with a coworker, the second one even with my boss, the third one in different occasions (when I want to be polite, but not particularly formal). At least this is the way I've always looked at these expressions. I hope it helps.

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I do not agree that ~していただけませんか is more polite than ~していただければと思います. There are different factors, but the former is more direct as a request, which is a factor to make it less polite. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Dec 12 '12 at 20:23
If there wasn't an ellipsis in ~て頂ければと思います I would have said the same, but I read someone saying he wouldn't use it with someone who's not 部内. So I've always assumed -te itadakemasen ka was more polite, but I see your point. Thank you for letting me know. –  Kokoroatari Dec 12 '12 at 21:40
I feel those expressions are not just questions but actually demanding something very strongly, especially with 頂けませんか ending. I feel this 頂けませんか implies "otherwise you are bound to some sort of penalty". –  jj1bdx Jan 9 '13 at 9:12
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