I happened across this in a document:


Why can you say "ご利用ください"? 体言止めい? But, I used to hear ご利用ください used frequently in the subways...

"お仕事ください" // (As noted in the accepted answer, this is grammatically correct. But, it does not mean "please work". Rather, it means "please give me work".)
"お仕事してください" // ok

"お勉強ください" // ?
"勉強してください" // ok

I suspect that there are a few other サ変名詞 that can also have their "して" dropped when the intended meaning is "~~~してください". Is that correct? What are other examples?

  • At first, I was going to write an answer about how ご[する動詞]ください is the 尊敬語 command form (and thus why して is dropped), but then I realized your question may be more nuanced than that (though seemingly asked backwards based on the last sentence). The question that's interesting to me is why お勉強ください might be unnatural. – virmaior May 10 '15 at 4:01
  • @virmaior I'd think that the 尊敬語 form for サ変名詞 just uses "なさる" instead of "する"? On a case by case basis, I think 美化語 is added sometimes. But then, today I just realized that dropping なさる、する、いたす for くださる seems grammatically weird. – red shoe May 10 '15 at 4:12

「して」 is not dropped; It was not there in the first place.

「ご利用」 is an honorific noun and all you need to add is 「ください」 to form a polite request with it. You just cannot add 「して」; It is not even an option.

Other common examples include:

「ご[覧]{らん}ください。」(Please have a look.),「お[越]{こ}しください。」(Please come.),「お[求]{もと}めください。」(Please purchase.),「お[試]{ため}しください。」(Please try it out.), etc.

Again, you cannot insert 「して」 into any of those phrases. It makes no sense to.

If you absolutely must use 「して」 for some reason, you will need to drop the honorific 「お/ご」 and say 「利用してください。」, but you would need to know that it will not sound as polite or "refined" as 「利用ください」. 

You mentioned 体言止め but it has nothing to do with it. 「ください」 is not a 体言, so you cannot call it 体言止め.

Lastly, I need to point out another mistake you have made. I am really sorry but someone had to. 「お仕事ください。」 makes perfect sense. It means "Please give me (some) work.", but not "Please work."

  • Out of curiosity, is お勉強ください also possible with the same meaning of "give me some thing to study!"? – virmaior May 10 '15 at 11:46

The common way to create humble/respectful forms (謙譲語・尊敬語) of verbs of the form Sinitic(音読み)-compound-する, e.g. 利用する is

(ご)利用する・(ご)利用いたす humble forms
ご利用になる・ご利用なさる respectful forms

(Let's ignore for now whether the humble form should have ご or not)

You could argue that ご利用して下さい requests the other person to be humble, so prescriptively it is incorrect (but you do sometimes hear forms like this from 敬語 speakers, although native).

ご利用になって下さい・ご利用なさって下さい are correct, so you might say that it's actually "になって" or "なさって" which is dropped.

Whether you treat ご利用 as a noun or (part of) a verb really depends on the analysis. Although it formally looks like a noun, I personally think it makes more sense to think of it as a verb for several reasons:

  1. Semantically, for ご利用ください, "Please give me usage" just doesn't make sense. ください is obviously used in its auxiliary verb sense here, not it's full verb sense.
  2. *ご利用をください is not possible, which you would expect it to be if ご利用 were a full-blown noun.

This analysis also makes sense when considering お仕事ください. One way of explaining why this cannot mean "please work" is that there is no verb 仕事する. 仕事する is an object-verb construction 仕事をする with a dropped を.

As for 勉強, googling I do find some examples of お勉強ください・ご勉強ください meaning "please study", although this construction doesn't strike me as common (maybe because it sounds condescending). Note that I've never heard ご勉強 as a standalone noun, which also suggests that there are special rules at play when 勉強する is used as a verb.

  • I've never heard "you do not make requests from humble forms." I think native speakers might say "私の文章を添削していただけませんか。" A humble request that I made to 家主さん:"こちらのアパートに住まわせて頂いたら宜しいんですか。" Because I heard "住まわせていただけませんか" in a Japanese movie (魔城の宅急便), it is spot-on what native speakers say. And "いただける" is 謙譲語。 – red shoe May 11 '15 at 3:29
  • Now, definitely disagree about your point regarding 「仕事」。In every dictionary, 「仕事」 is listed as サ変名詞 (aka: "a する verb"). 「仕事する」 definitely can be a サ変名詞 construct. But, like you say, I'm almost certain it can also be an (object + verb) construct. – red shoe May 11 '15 at 3:36
  • Actually, I did just double-check the part of speech for 仕事、and here: dic.search.yahoo.co.jp/… the part of speech is not as simple as I thought. I've no idea of what 連用形 is, so I'll take your word it is an (object + verb) construct. thanks. – red shoe May 11 '15 at 3:50
  • @dwakam, you're right, my wording isn't very precise. いただけませんか is a request, and いただく is 謙譲語. My point is that 頂いて下さい doesn't work. Hm... I wonder how I can phrase that. – dainichi May 13 '15 at 2:52
  • @dwakam, I wasn't able to find 仕事 as a サ変名詞 in any of the online dictionaries I usually look at. I'll be honest and say I don't know how cleanly you can separate suru-verbs from object-verb constructions, but at least in this case there are some hints pointing towards object-verb, e.g. 1 you can insert を, 仕事をする is fine, 利用をする is strange (at least unless you need to modify 利用) 2 仕事する cannot take an object, whereas 利用する can (何々を利用する) – dainichi May 13 '15 at 3:10

It's because the word 利用 has been beautified (made to sound more refined) by adding ご as a sign of respect to the receiver of the message. More commonly you might hear ご注意ください=please take care, which is a more polite way of saying 注意してください. There's also 電話してください -> お電話ください.

I'm not really sure why it is possible to drop the して, but one theory I have is that the structure changes from two verbs to a single verb when the noun is beautified with お or ご, i.e. from 注意する + くださる to simply ご注意くださる.

A similar thing happens with verbs when you politely ask someone to do something; 待ってください becomes お待ちください.

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