Common wisdom holds that verbs such as “お話しする” are humble and are generally only used with the speaker as subject and certainly not used with a superior as subject, but I encounter this all the time, for instance:

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The context being that this is the parent of a teacher, who is also the owner of a big company who is estranged with said teacher and the character in the picture works to remedy their relationship yet uses “お話しできます” with this character far higher in status as the subject. Indeed, when I went to look up after encountering it whether I missed something I came across this source which states:

This type of speech is used to refer to the speaker and their actions. This is opposed to honorific language, which refers exclusively to the listener and their actions.

But then comes with this example sentence


This example, clearly using “ご登録する”, together with 方 even for others.

What's going on here? Because I see it all the time that verbs such as “ご到着します” are used to refer to the actions of others, often those above the speaker in status. The reverse is not true. I've never seen anyone refer to himself with “ご到着になる” nor have I seen “ご到着いたします” for someone except of course for trains which are part of the in-group of the announcer.

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Politeness of 何をお願いしましたか
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 16:13
  • @naruto, no, that's simply that “お願いする” is a set phrase which originated as humble language and only applies to the specific example of “お願いする” but someone else already answered with an explanation I find most plausible.
    – Zorf
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


[謙譲語]{けん・じょう・ご} (humble language) is not only used to humbly refer to one's own actions, but also those of other members of your "group"/"side". So in this case, the 先生 is the object of respect/honour, and even though the girl is speaking of her father's actions, the dynamic is such that the her group (in this case, she and her family members) behaves humbly with respect to the relationship with the 先生.

  • Ahh, I see this makes a lot of sense, at least in this case. The speaker is working as a proxy for the benefit of the father character here.
    – Zorf
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 2:59

Although お話しする is an expression of 謙譲語 (respect goes to the object), お話(し) is well established as a noun and it can also be seen as an omission of the particle が from お話しができる, which forms 丁寧語 (respect goes to the audience; merely polite expression) of 話(し)ができる.

P.S. Generally speaking, お/ご~する, お/ご~いたす are expressions of 謙譲語 (respect goes to the object) and お/ご~になる, お/ご~なさる are 尊敬語 (respect goes to the subject). However, even native speakers are sometimes confusing with them and employ them in non-traditional ways. ご登録する方 is theoretically a expression of 謙譲語 (and therefore I personally feel that usage quite strange), but it might undergo the change of the norm...?

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