I need to ask three questions to my Japanese teacher as part of my oral examination. Since we studied it, I need to use sonkeigo but I'm unsure whether some of these questions may be inappropriate and I have doubts regarding how grammatically correct they might be.

  • もし1日だけ億万長者になれたら、何のことをなさいますか。

Can I say なさりたいですか? and would だったら be too informal as a hypothesis, given that I'm talking to a teacher?

  • 今までにいただいた最高のプレゼントは何でしょうか。 (Idk wheter to use プレゼントの中で..)

  • 過去に戻ることができなら、何かを変更なさいますか。

I wanted to ask if ''you could go back to the past, what would you change?''. Alternatively: is 変える too literal of a translation?

  • Due to the no translation rule, I guess it's better to split questions so that each question asks one specific point; There is no strict standard, but as it is, it may look like a proofreading request. From next time, or if you still have doubts after my answer/comments, you can delete this question and post new ones.
    – sundowner
    Feb 8 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


I think having such a conversation already indicates a friendly enough relationship. As such, using sonkeigo in those sentences sounds like a register mismatch to me (though it's not impossible). Simple です/ます(丁寧語) should be enough, practically speaking.

The following are more like comments, but hope it helps.


  • なれたら in the condition is fine; I don't really think of a way to make it sonkeigo. 何のこと means about what; you should use 何をなさいますか (what would you do?) or どうなさいますか.


  • いただく cannot be used to refer to the action of someone for whom sonkeigo is used. This lists お受け取りになる as a sonkeigo for もらう. So technically, it can be 今までにお受け取りになった最高のプレゼントは何でしょうか(or 何でございますか) - but it sounds just too polite unless you are a (real) maid or butler or something...


何かを means (change) something, so as it is, it means would you change anything?. For what would you..., you should use 何を変更なさいますか; Or 何をお変えになりますか. Either way, mostly because of the casualness of the question, using sonkeigo is particularly odd to me. Using again simple 何をなさいますか would be less odd.

  • thank u so much! this really helped me :))) also I got an A+ hehehe Feb 8 at 21:03

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