I'm reading a children's book and this silly shrimp says ここで寝ましょう... but there's no one else around... If ましょう is a way to state that what you are saying is subjective not objective, and depends on your volition/understanding... then why would you say it to yourself. Is it like when someone says "Well I guess I shall go to bed then" out loud to no one in particular?

BONUS: Are there any other contexts where you are only referring to yourself when you say ましょう しよう etc. I think I saw someone say "これを買いましょう" to affirm their decision, as in "I shall buy this one".

1 Answer 1


I think ~よう is often used to express a feeling such as you are “thinking”, “considering”, “planing”, “deciding”, “guessing” or something.

You say “帰ろう”, “寝よう”, “買おう” to yourself when you are making a decision. “帰る” "寝る" “買う” may be inappropriate because it's nether a “judgement” (because you always know exactly what you will do) nor a “statement” (because nobody needs this information.) You just directly express this kind of feeling using “~よう” no matter there is a listener or not. I think expressing one's emotions is something you often do without any reasons.

~ましょう might be used in certain situations, In novels, some people (e.g. お嬢様) just use the polite form exclusively. In narratives, the speaker is aware of the existence of the audiences, so he uses the polite form. But the ~ましょう in this case is not the speaker's feeling, but the the character's. Maybe the author of the children's book deliberately chose the polite form throughout the book, did he?

When you are speaking to a listener, you often change ~よう to ~ようと思います and ~よう carries some additional meanings. It seems that they think ~よう sounds too direct. They think 気持ちを抑えめに表現する=丁寧に表現する.

I think これを買いましょう often implies the speaker decided to buy, tell the listener and ask for confirmation.

  • Ahh so I think it along the lines of my reasoning then. It shows that the information is subjective and dependent upon the speaker. It is slightly more assertive because you are connecting it with the future. Sort of like "I will go to the shops" if you acknowledge the nuance inherent in the word "will". That's what ties it to the "Considering" "Planning" etc.
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 6:47
  • @Nathan, um... It's a little difficult. But I feel “私帰ります” is also subjective. It implies your volition, often means “you can and will make something happen as you want.” On the other hand “私帰りましょう” sounds like “how about letting me go home”, which is very unlikely to be said. However, “ご紹介します” and “ご紹介しましょう” are possible. I don't know how to explain.
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 7:41
  • When there is a listener, ~しよう/~ましょう often means “how about ...” If the listener agrees, he sometimes replays the same thing with “~しよう/~しましょう”. “~する/~します” is just a notification.
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 7:48

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