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I would like to ask a follow-up question about the 敬語 used in Why “お食事の際は、…” instead of “ご飯を食べる際は、…”?.

example sentence:

こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。

Sounds like:

I can use this table.

So, the listener certainly must be a 3rd party who has nothing to do with the table, right? If I were addressing the "owner" of the table, I'd have to ask:

こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけませんか?

  1. If the listener is the "owner" of the table, I am interested in knowing why I do not need to ask if it is ok. Seems like I'm just (humbly) telling them what I am going to do to something they "own" (whether they like it or not).
  2. If the listener is not the "owner", then what is being said is that "I can use this table, but you cannot." This is because I cannot use 謙譲語 to describe the actions of others.
  3. Technically, I guess, "こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。" does not comment on whether the listener can, or cannot, use the table. But, it'd seem weird to make no comment about the listener. like: "こちらのテーブルをお使いいたいてもいいし、使ってもいいです。" You'd just say (to include me and you): "こちらのテーブルを使ってもいいです。" anyway, i don't get it...
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It just means "You can use this table" (e.g. a hotel employee explaining to a guest).

「こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけませんか?」 means "Could you use this table (instead)?" (maybe the guest sat at a wrong table).

  • I get it! I am so stupid. I just was not hearing it correctly. thanks. – kairua Sep 20 '15 at 21:23
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こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます is right, because in this context 「〜いただく」is used for expressing "get you (to use this table)".

Think about a case when a group of people invites someone to talk about a certain theme at symposium or somewhere.

The moderator can say: ①「A氏に◯◯のことについてお話しいただきます」 because he is a part of the group which planned the whole symposium. As this group asked A to talk about the ◯◯ theme 「(お話し)いただきます」 reflects also the host's intention.

But in a rare case if moderator says: ②「A氏は◯◯についてお話しになります」 he simply states the fact that A will give a speech, like when some guest or non-related person would ask to take the floor. In this case the honorific 「(お話し)になります」 applies only to A and not to a relation between A and the whole group.

  • I think you made a valid point and I rephrased your answer, so that your arguments were clearer. I hope you would agree with my suggestion. – macraf Sep 22 '15 at 13:39
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I would like to counter-argue by introducing an article about the common misuse of いただく as the 尊敬語 not as the 謙譲語.

The writer of the column says:

「いただく」は尊敬語ではない

同様に、尊敬語を用いるべき場面でよく使われる謙譲語の一つが「いただく」だ。

お昼はもういただきましたか。

「食べる」の尊敬語「召し上がる」を知らない人はいないはずなのだが、実際には「いただく」もよく耳にする。ついうっかりでも勘違いでもなく、丁重な表現だからこれでいいのだと確信して使っている人もいるようだ。しかし、「いただきました」はあくまでも謙譲語であり、自分が食べたことを述べるときにのみ使いたい。

「いただく」は「もらう」の謙譲語でもあるが、やはり尊敬語と錯覚して使用する人がいる。会議の参加者一人一人に資料を配付しながら、「もういただきましたか」と聞いたりする。「もらう」の尊敬語は、形の上では「おもらいになる」と「もらわれる」だが、目上の人に対しては使いにくい動詞だ。「お受け取りになりましたか」「お持ちでしょうか」としたほうがよいだろう。動詞を機械的に変換して、「ハイ、敬語、一丁上がり」というわけにはいかないのだ。

Translation:

「いただく」 is not an honorific (尊敬語).

(In the previous article, the author talked about the misuse of "お会いする".) In the same way, the commonly misused word which should be used as a humble form (謙譲語) but often used as an honorific (尊敬語) is いただく.

Example sentence (wrong): 「お昼はもういただきましたか」

I think people should know the honorific form (尊敬語) of the verb 食べる is 召し上がる, but often I hear people say いただく instead. It seems that they not only are unaware of the misuse, but they are even certain that いただく is the correct word because it sounds so polite. いただきました is certainly an expression of modesty (謙譲語), therefore I would like to ask people to use this word only when they eat something themselves.

いただく is also a humble form of the verb もらう,but many people mistakenly use this word as an honorific. At (business) meetings, I often hear a person who delivers the documents (to those in higher positions) say もういただきましたか. An honorific form of the verb もらう is おもらいになる or もらわれる, but I think these verbs are a bit hard to use so often. Therefore, I would like to suggest using 「お受け取りになりましたか?」 or 「お持ちでしょうか?」 instead.


Thus said, いただく is a humble form (謙譲語) and not an honorific (尊敬語),therefore:

こちらのテーブルをお使いいただけます。

is wrong, because the person who uses the table can not lower him/her/them self/selves in order to express the respect.

So my alternative way of saying it is:

こちらのテーブルを(は)お使いなさる事が出来ます。

Using なさる - the honorific of する.

  • To the editor, thank you for the edit. But first of all, all those downvoted without the explanation were very nice to me, even according to the moderator's comments, since I have no idea where there is a mistake and I can not receive the positive feedback. To moderators, this site was once called "full of negative air", is there still it? – Kentaro Tomono Sep 21 '15 at 6:28
  • I made it back to the original since a teacher told me "cushon" words are important so that the sentence becomes clearer. – Kentaro Tomono Sep 21 '15 at 6:46
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    While this is technically correct, the expression is so common that IMO it's OK to use it this way at this point. I think お使いなさる事が出来ます sounds a bit strange.. Shouldn't it be お使いになれます – Enno Shioji Sep 21 '15 at 7:25
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    You say お~いただく is wrong, but page 4 on the website you linked to says 尊敬表現にするには、「お使いになれます」「ご利用になれません」「ご乗車になれません」と言うか、または 「お/ご~いただく」の形にして、「お使いいただけます」「ご利用いただけません」「ご乗車いただけません」とする必要がある 。(= あなたは「お~いただく」が間違いだとおっしゃいますが、あなたの引用されたサイトの4ページには、『尊敬表現にするには、「お使いになれます」「ご利用になれません」「ご乗車になれません」と言うか、または「お/ご~いただく」の形にして、「お使いいただけます」「ご利用いただけません」「ご乗車いただけません」とする必要がある 』と書かれています。) – Chocolate Sep 22 '15 at 7:26
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    謙譲語だからこそ正しいじゃないですか。「お使いいただく」。つまり、使ってもらえるってことでしょ?もらえるのは店側の人でしょ? – user4092 Sep 22 '15 at 7:40

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