I recently asked about the differences between "くださいませんか" and "いただけませんか". But, I just realized I have a related question.

Doesn't "くれない" have the same basic meaning as "ください"? And, isn't it more polite, and less confrontational? For example:
"それを読んでください。" <-- direct / confrontational. spoken to someone beneath you.
"それを読んでくれない?" <-- same meaning and more polite?

If that is correct, then I can be done with saying "ください". I've got respect and humility to pretty much everyone, so I'm just going to continue always saying "くれない". That makes sense, right?

btw: In the case of "見せる", I would say:
"見してくれない?" instead of "見せてくれない?". Is this correct? Is it like slang, or something?

thank you.

1 Answer 1


You have it backwards. 〜くださる is the honorific version of 〜くれる.

〜くれない is a tiny bit softer than 〜ください (since it's negated), but in terms of showing respect, 〜くれない actually less polite -- do not use it with your boss.

Something worth pointing out though, is that 〜くれない could be more appropriate in some situations where the extra respect actually makes things overly distant and as a result, somewhat rude or odd (for example, when talking with friends or subordinates).

(As for 見せて vs 見して, you are correct that 見して is slang, generally not used in writing but by some people in speech.)

  • I mean to show respect to a boss, at least you have to use 丁寧語。 More appropriately, you'd have to crank things up to 尊敬語 (ie. いただけませんか). When I used to chat, I'd always just say "くれない" because it sounded softer than ください。"ください" sounded like giving an order, and "くれない" sounded like "hey, could you maybe do that for me?" But, that might be completely bogus. With regard to 丁寧語 towards a boss、neither is 丁寧語。"しなさい"、"読みなさい"、"ください"、etc. is like giving orders, right?
    – davewp
    Jan 3, 2014 at 19:18
  • I think you have your categorization mixed up. いただけませんか is 謙譲語+丁寧語, ください is basically just 丁寧語 these days, くださいません is 尊敬語+丁寧語, くれ is nothing, くれない is nothing, くれませんか is 丁寧語. If you refer back to @TokyoNagoya's answer on your other question, you'll see that he points out that 謙譲語 is odd within your 内 group. However, 丁寧語 is required when talking upwards in your 内 group, and often 尊敬語 is required when discussing someone higher in your 内 group (though it depends, sometimes just 丁寧語 is fine). Jan 3, 2014 at 19:32
  • yeh. yeh. I said "尊敬語"instead of "謙譲語". I just started learning both. Even just saying those words confuses me. :-) But, your saying "... ください is basically just 丁寧語 these days" doesn't sound quite right to me (nor does it follow the grammar rules of Japanese?). Ending with "ます" or "です" definitely sounds 丁寧。Ending with the sound "さい" seems like you're giving an order (which is why I almost have no experience saying it)...
    – davewp
    Jan 3, 2014 at 20:41

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