5

So I've learned that はじめまして is used in first meetings and that it stems from the verb はじめる (to start; to begin). But what form is it? It's apparently not the polite past form, which has a -た at the end (はじめました). Is it a proper verb form of はじめる anyway or should it simply be seen as a set expression?

6

To break it down, はじめまして is the て form of はじめます, and はじめます is the polite form of はじめる.

はじめまして is a fixed expression.

You'll see ~~まして in some fixed expressions such as:

  • あけましておめでとうございます。-- Happy new year.
  • どういたしまして。-- You are welcome.

as well as in polite/formal speech or writing such as:

  • ご来店くださいまして、誠にありがとうございます。
    -- Thank you for visiting our store.
  • ご迷惑をおかけしまして、申し訳ございません。
    -- We are sorry to have troubled you.
  • Can I ask a question? It seems the verb 初(はじ)める isn't found. – Yuuichi Tam May 3 '16 at 14:22
  • 明鏡国語辞典 gives 始 for the verb はじめる, and gives 初 for はじめて and はじめまして, adding 「もと『始』も使ったが、今はもっぱら『初』。」, which indicates that はじめて and はじめまして are derived from the verb はじめる (or, at least these three share the same origin). – Chocolate May 3 '16 at 14:45
  • Thank you for teaching. I first think only 初めまして is correct but it seems 始めまして is also correct. asahi-net.or.jp/~QM4H-IIM/k031002.htm – Yuuichi Tam May 3 '16 at 14:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.