I'm a bit confused by the usage of さしあげる in this sentence from Kanji in Context:

ただ今、来客中ですので、後ほどこちらからお電話さしあげます。 We have a guest at the moment, so we'll call you later.

To me, お電話いたします or even お電話いたしてさしあげます are more grammatical. Maybe it's really お電話(を)さしあげます? (I'll give you a call).


[差]{さ}し[上]{あ}げる is [謙譲語]{けんじょうご} for words like あげる and やる, as well as してあげる. By itself it means to give (with a sense of great respect), and as a subsidiary verb ([補]{ほ}[助]{じょ}[動]{どう}[詞]{し}), it adds a great sense of respect (for the person receiving the action) to the verb it is helping.

[致]{いた}す is basically 謙譲語 for する.

電話(を)する(いたす) can be thought of as: "to call".

電話(を)してあげる(さしあげる) can be thought of as: "to give a call".

In the sentence, the callee is telling the caller to expect a call back. This creates a sense of "waiting"; so, instead of just "calling", the person will "give a call back" (i.e., 電話をしてあげる). However, in business situations 謙譲語 is preferred on the phone. So, the frank-sounding してあげる becomes 差し上げる.

As to お電話(を)いたしてさしあげます, converting back from 謙譲語 would yield 電話(を)してしてあげる, which is blatantly incorrect.

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  • Woops, someone else already had answered! D'oh! – execjosh Aug 20 '13 at 2:56
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    Thanks! But if 「差し上げる」 is the 謙譲語 of 「あげる」, shouldn't 「いたして」+「さしあげる」convert to 「して」+「あげる」(which is what I had in mind when I made the construction)? – Viridian Aug 20 '13 at 3:23
  • @execjosh yours is more detailed and professional :) – hello all Aug 20 '13 at 4:51
  • Sorry, missed the part where you said 「差し上げる」could also replace「してあげる」! – Viridian Aug 21 '13 at 2:58
  • This 日本語Q&A is interesting: home.alc.co.jp/db/owa/jpn_npa?sn=16 – execjosh Aug 24 '13 at 7:55

お電話差し上げる reduced an を but it's correct in a grammatical sense.

To keep it simple, 「差し上げる」 is the 謙譲語 of 「やる」.

In 「お電話を差し上げる」, 「差し上げる」 is the predicate, thus it is a polite way to say 「お電話をやる」.

In 「お電話をして差し上げる」, 「する」 is the predicate, thus it's NOT POLITE AT ALL. The sentence means 「電話をして」 + 「やる」. It's really bad to say 「してやる」.

「お電話を差し上げる」 would imply that the person who's going to receive that call is expecting to get that call.

So I personally believe it's simpler, more direct and more polite to say 「お電話致します」「お電話をさせていただきます」.

Hope this helps!

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  • Thanks, you did help! So「して」+「あげる/差し上げる」is implicitly rude despite the 謙譲語? Does that mean saying something like 「その問題を解決してあげます」is still rude? – Viridian Aug 20 '13 at 3:19
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    :) Rather to say it's rude, it's just not polite. 「お電話してあげます」 would sound like 'So you want a call, eh? Fine, I'll call you.' Since this is about calls, the phrase would probably appear in a business conversation, so it's inappropriate to say 「お電話してあげます」. 「その問題を解決してあげます」 is not rude AT ALL, since the person with the problem IS EXPECTING THAT the problem will be solved. And using 謙譲語 doesn't really alter the meaning, so it would still be inappropriate. – hello all Aug 20 '13 at 4:50

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