On a Japanese package I've found this inscription:


This obviously means: "Please cut here (to open)". With my very basic knowledge of Japanese I would instead of お切り (お being the honorific prefix? Which can also be used for verbs?) have expected the て form, i.e. 切って下さい. Why does it read お切り下さい instead?


お + [masu-stem] + ください is keigo (honorific speech) for [te-form] + ください.

This rule works for verbs, which don't have a separate keigo verb, e.g. 切る


If the verb does have a separate keigo form, the formation is different:

お見ください → ご覧ください
お言いください → おっしゃってください
お行きください → いらしてください
お来ください → おこしください

  • 2
    This answer is better than mine, but I'd like to point out that many people consider お召し上がりください an error. According to them, the proper form is 召し上がってください. – Angelos Dec 28 '15 at 18:52
  • @Nothingatall Thank you for your comment. Yes, 二重敬語... Maybe I should remove this example. (More questions about 二重敬語 ("double keigo") (especially this question) can be found via japanese.stackexchange.com/search.) – Earthliŋ Dec 28 '15 at 19:49
  • 1
    People who mind お召し上がりください are minority. – user4092 Mar 13 '16 at 14:37

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