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I visit an office and enquire where (floor, desk, etc) I should go -

どこに いくのが よろしいですか

Would this be an incorrect expression? If so, what is the mistake?

What would be a better way to ask the same?

4 Answers 4

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Even though I think your Japanese sentence has been rewritten by someone IIRC, it is actually much better and, more importantly, more natural than the other answerers have made it seem like.

We do actually say something close to that when we do not know where to go at all in a place like City Hall or any larger place with many sections, rooms, staff members, etc. In other words, when we do not know the exact name of the section or the name of the person in charge of the function for which you have visited.

We say:

「どこにいけばよろしいでしょうか。」

To make it even better, state what you need to do first as in:

「~~をしたいのですが、どこにいけばよろしいでしょうか。」

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  • 1
    It looks like the edits were for formatting only, and the sentence is as the poster wrote it.
    – ssb
    Nov 29, 2014 at 12:41
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It's hard to get over, especially since Japanese is such a soft/roundabout language, but when asking for things (like directions, time, etc.) the colloquial way to do it is rather blunt.

○○はどこですか? ○○はどちらでしょうか? 今何時ですか? A社は何階でしょうか?

If you need to soften it, prepend with a すみません. Don't forget to say thanks when it's done. Voila. The concept of adding "do you know/would you happen to know" doesn't work.

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  • Depending on the situation, I would maybe add the reason before, but yes, I feel you need to be blunt in this kind of questions... People are actually sometimes a bit baffled when I say that "I am looking for something" or "Would you know how to get somewhere".
    – Urukann
    Nov 27, 2014 at 2:37
  • But is the statement in the question grammatically wrong,beside the discrepancy in the formality(どこ /よろしい).
    – IUnknown
    Nov 28, 2014 at 6:21
  • At the very least it sounds quite unnatural. It might pass a grammar test, but that doesn't mean it's right. Nov 28, 2014 at 13:56
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Note:

This all depends on who you are meeting. What is your relationship? What is your reason for going to this office?

Business Japanese is very much situational. These types of details really need to be considered.


Now, here is a general scenario.

Let's say you are vising company XYZ and it is located inside a combined office building.

First, you would first ask where XYZ company is located at reception of the office building. It would be just like asking directions:

Greeting followed by XYZは何階でしょうか。(Or anything similar)

Once you reach the floor of XYZ then they should have their own receptionist. You can say something like:

ABC会社のJohn Doeと申します。いつもお世話になっております。

Like I mentioned earlier, this would again depend on "Do you work for the said company?" "Did you make an appointment?" "Who is your contact person and what relationship do you have? E.g. are you a client?" "What kind of appointment do you have?"

〇〇部の鈴木さんと13:00から会う予定があるのですが。(This can be adjusted to be more formal or casual as necessary)

Then the receptionist will either check her schedule or call the department admin to confirm your appointment. Then she will instruct you or lead you to the room.

If you can provide more details on your situation, I think we would be able to give you a more precise answer.


Now one thing that is incorrect is your usage of よろしいですか. This is a common mistake.

For example, if you were the receptionist, it would be okay to say:

もう一度お名前をお尋ねしてもよろしいでしょうか。(May I ask your name again?)

But if you are not asking permission, then it would be よい・いい.

Secondly, you are mixing forms. For example, どこ is not formal but よろしい is more formal. So in your case it should match: どちら and よろしい or どこ and よい・いい.

Now this is even more advanced. If you use よろしい in a non-interrogative sentence, then you will be talking down to someone. Effectively you are giving permission to their actions. You will almost never use it in this way. Maybe a very high up or some sensei may use it when speaking to people with lower status than them.

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  • Sorry, I think I misunderstood. You are say visiting a hospital or something. In that case, I think kiss-o-matic's reply is best.
    – user224579
    Nov 26, 2014 at 21:34
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Other answers have already said your sentence is not very natural, but I think the problem is more basic than this: it's simply no use trying to construct literal translations of what you might say in English in a similar situation. Actually, I can't really understand your example in English, unless we assume it is part of a longer sentence: "Excuse me, where should I go to find the office of the rodent exterminator?" The part your interlocutor needs to hear is "rodent exterminator"

So you learn the ~ですけど construction, and you say (ah, well, after choosing the example I realise I don't exactly know the Japanese for rodent exterminator, but then probably neither do you, and this is why the ~ですけど construction is so powerful):

こんにちは。え~と、ねずみの問題ですけど…

To which the person will (with luck) reply

あ、害獣駆除課ですか?

And give you directions. So the important bits are being able to convey a noun phrase conveying what you are looking for, and being able to understand instructions, at least until you are out of sight and can ask the next person. (This time you will be able to copy the proper name, and all the practice helps.)

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