I assume ご連絡申しあげます and ご連絡を申しあげます have the same meaning, but differ in style. I use them interchangeably below. This question is not about existence of を unless it was relevant to understanding the phrase.

Having received an email ending with announcement of future contact in the form of 「ご連絡を申し上げます」 I am wondering how this phrase is built up, so that it is accepted.

My main point of confusion is using the verb 申し上げる a humble form of "to talk", "to say", "to express" with a noun 連絡 meaning "connection", "contact", "communication". Using both words as predicate and subject makes no sense in English and probably most Indo-European languages (while the same words have equivalent usage patterns in many other combinations).

To help understand readers, what is my concern, I have following hypotheses:

1) Is 連絡 a thing that you can say or express like お礼を申し上げます/お礼を言います? Can I simplify (keigo aside) it to 連絡を言います? (I can't find any proof in dictionaries it works this way)

2) Maybe as suggested here or here 申し上げます preceded by お〜/ご〜 works like 致します, but how universal would it be? Can I say お待たせを申し上げます?

3) If お待たせ example does not sound strange, maybe the construction is some kind of a contraction of (お待たせいたしました)を申し上げます being "I would like to express - sorry to keep you waiting".

4) Or maybe it is just a set phrase ご連絡申しあげます coming from custom or tradition?

  • 1
    The question title says 「ご連絡申し上げます」, but the first sentence of the question itself says 「ご連絡申し上げます」. Is that a typo?
    – user1478
    Oct 10, 2015 at 0:33
  • 1
    @snailboat The title says 「ご連絡申しあげます」 because that's what I see in at least one dictionary. The first sentence says 「ご連絡を申し上げます」 because that's the content of the message I referred to. I don't know if it was a typo. I am open to hear about it. I assumed the clauses were equivalent.
    – macraf
    Oct 10, 2015 at 0:42
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    Thanks for explaining. I was confused because the question didn't mention を anywhere. Both versions are attested, but ご連絡申し上げます (without を) is considerably more common.
    – user1478
    Oct 10, 2015 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


申し上げる has two different meanings. The first one is "to say" in a humble form, the second is "to do" also in a humble form. Here is an excerpt from a dictionary regarding the latter one:

「お」や「御 (ご) 」の付いた自分の行為を表す体言に付けて、その行為の対象を敬う。…してさしあげる。「お答え―・げます」「御相談―・げたく参上致しました」

Although the compound verb 申し上げる contains a 申す part related to "speaking" it is not treated literally in contemporary Japanese. 申し上げる in the 2nd meaning is used as a light verb (補助動詞) expressing the utmost level of politeness.

So from your hypotheses 1-4, the second one is correct.

You can use お〜/ご〜申し上げます in different phrases, although I think it sounds too polite to be used often. Maybe its similar to the language used in some diplomatic documents in English - if used in a daily life, they might sound strange.

It doesn't mean this pattern is limited to official documents, but I feel it would be too polite for example to use towards a customer in a restaurant or a shop. In this article you can find a comparison of the levels of politeness with the 申し上げる being the most respectful.

You can say お待たせ申し上げました. It is more polite than お待たせいたしました. Here you can find minutes from a meeting of a certain council in the Ministry of Finance opening with the sentence 「どうも大変お待たせ申し上げまして、申しわけございません。」

Here you can find a transcript of proceedings (PDF) from the Diet containing several examples of this pattern: 「お待たせを申し上げまして、大変に失礼をいたしました」「お願い申し上げます」「お願いを申し上げ、ごあいさつといたします」「ごあいさつを申し上げます」

  • 2
    Here is an example of "お待たせ申し上げます" from a national council. どうも大変お待たせ申し上げまして、申しわけございません。 mof.go.jp/about_mof/councils/fiscal_system_council/… Let me update the answer.
    – Keita ODA
    Oct 11, 2015 at 4:27
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    Please feel free to. I am no more a native in English, and surely you have a better skill. If you think the middle part is not related to the question, the reason that I explained about a light verb is that 申し上げます in this form is a light verb or helping verb (補助動詞) developed from a regular verb. Also, I found an example of お待たせ「を」申し上げます. It was from a comittee of the diet. Maybe you can add this too. kokkai.ndl.go.jp/SENTAKU/sangiin/155/0020/15511130020002.pdf
    – Keita ODA
    Oct 13, 2015 at 12:53

ご連絡申し上げる is a humble form of 連絡する while ご連絡を申し上げる (a little awkward phrase) is two words of ご連絡 and 申し上げる.

  • Google: "ご連絡申し上げます" 517,000 results "ご連絡を申し上げます" 316,000 results. Maybe it's awkward, but it is certainly used and the ratio/sheer volume do not suggest a common mistake/misspelling, even if dictionaries list only one form. Anyway, this has nothing to do with my question, I already referenced sources that explained the meaning. But they do not explain why words literally meaning "to say contact" constitute a valid phrase in Japanese, which is my question.
    – macraf
    Oct 10, 2015 at 14:26
  • 3
    @macraf Google Search result estimates aren't reliable. If I search the Google Japanese Web N-gram corpus instead, I find 128796 and 3770 results respectively.
    – user1478
    Oct 10, 2015 at 14:31

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