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In the Genki II 3rd-edition textbook, pg. 192, there are drills to practice both respect and humble keigo. In problem #9, a speaker asks:

日本文学に興味がありますか。 Are you interested in Japanese literature?

According to the answers, the correct respect-keigo conversion of ありますか is おありになりますか, but this sounds odd to me. I don't think I've ever heard おありになる before. In this Japanese dictionary, ござる is defined as respect keigo for ある, so shouldn't both speakers use ござる?

A: 日本文学に興味がございますか。 B: はい、ございます

Is Genki's answer booklet (おありになる) the correct & natural keigo for speaker A? Or is ございます also correct and/or more commonly used?

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As the linked dictionary lists おありになる in that meaning, both are usable.

  1. 日本文学に興味がございますか
  2. 日本文学に興味がおありになりますか

For me, 2 is polite enough and 1 is a little too polite though 1 can be used e.g. by a clerk of some sort talking to a potential customer.


Regarding はい、ございます, it may be an edge case, but to my ears, it is odd. A possible explanation: 興味がある is synonymous with 興味を持つ, for which using sonkeigo (興味をお持ちになる) is an error when the subject is the speaker.

Note a sentence like 私が鈴木でございます is perfectly fine, though. Likewise, if ございます is considered as teinei-go, はい、ございます should be fine, technically speaking.

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  • A link suggests that おありですか is more commonly heard than おありになりますか — is this true?
    – jogloran
    Mar 27 at 23:41
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    @jogloran おありですか is certainly another possibility, but not sure which is more common. I guess all forms are rather polite and not very much used outside customer-facing contexts. Even if I talk to someone I use sonkeigo with, I'd probably use just ありますか.
    – sundowner
    Mar 28 at 10:29

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