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I often come across the respect keigo conjugation "ご/お + [base word] + になる" when used with する verbs. For example, a cashier might say:

「レジ袋は有料ですが、ご利用になりますか?」

However according to this hinative question, using the verb phrase 「お料理になる」 in place of 「料理する」 is deemed unnatural.

When is this "ご/お + [base word] + になる" construction acceptable with する verbs in respect keigo?

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  • At least some of the issue appears to be the specifics of the word 料理【りょうり】, rather than the specifics of this keigo pattern. As explained in that Hinative thread, 「お料理になります」 sounds a bit like someone is becoming a particular dish of food, in keeping with the "dish of food" meaning of 料理. That kind of meaning ambiguity doesn't exist for the word 利用【りよう】. Feb 28 at 0:39
  • It may be because 利用 is unambiguously an action while 料理 can be a thing? お電話になる doesn't work either.
    – aguijonazo
    Feb 28 at 1:16
  • 1
    There is even no kango for which お-kango-になる (not ご) is possible. Not 100% sure.
    – sundowner
    Feb 28 at 2:54

1 Answer 1

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ご + kango + になる is a relatively uncommon pattern that applies to only certain verbs:

  • ✅: ご到着になる, ご出発になる, ご出席になる, ご利用になる, ご来店になる, ご帰宅になる, ご入浴になる, ご発言になる (+ご覧になる)
  • ❌: ご運転になる, ご学習になる, ご訪問になる, ご観察になる, ご修理になる, ご睡眠になる, ご感動になる

So what's the difference? ご覧になる seems to be an exception, but for the others, I can see two tendencies:

  • Verbs in the acceptable group (✅) are basically related to actions involving hosting a guest or serving someone, incorporating the perspective of a service provider. As for ご発言になる, I feel that an MC can use it in a conference, but other participants may prefer 発言される or 発言なさる instead.
  • ご到着, ご利用 and so on work also as standalone honorific nouns, as in ご利用ありがとうございました and またのご来店をお待ち申し上げております. (Of course, you still need to remember which works as a noun.)

I don't mean to say that these are rules; they are just my current observations. In reality, you might have to memorize each expression on a case-by-case basis. If you want a safer pattern, ~なさる can be more generally applied to suru-verbs.

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