I have a quick question about giving a reason for asking for a letter of recommendation. I'd like to ask for a letter of rec from a Japanese language teacher and also explain that I need it for a scholarship. This is not the entire letter I will be writing, just a single sentence.

I was thinking:


I would like it to sound as natural as possible. Please let me know how I might improve it.


Edit: Thank you for your help! It seems my question was missing the forest for the trees.

  • 2
    I'm not sure if this is in the rest of your letter but you might want to be a little more tact when asking for a recommendation letter. Would you say, "Can you write me a recommendation letter because I want a scholarship." in English?
    – ishikun
    Aug 24 '16 at 23:58

Respectful language is in part about indirection, so rather than saying "Because I want a scholarship please write me a letter" (which to me as a native speaker of English who has written recommendation letters for students sounds pretty rude), I'd say "I am planning to apply for the X scholarship, and I was wondering if you could write me a letter".

My attempt is:




  • 1
    I like how you mention that respectful language is about indirection!! I didn't know what it was when I first read the sentence above but that is exactly what irked me a bit.
    – ishikun
    Aug 25 '16 at 17:26

this is coming rather late and i'm sure you've already asked for the letter but for anyone else here to see the answers, I think it's pretty important to state that you're better off asking for a letter of recommendation in person (if at all possible), especially if the professor in question is a native of Japan. Some may perceive requesting such a favor through email as extremely rude (I've actually heard of someone getting thoroughly reprimanded by a professor from Tokyo at my University for doing this). Just a word of caution!


I'm in late on this one. The most natural way, as I've learned, is to approach this by the back route on the subject. That is, rather than ask for a letter of recommendation brusquely, use your tact to speak with them about the scholarship. Therefore, when you write your email, don't make it about the letter of recommendation, instead, make it about your specific goals, what you're trying to achieve.

Once you're meeting with your professor in person, hint at the fact that a letter of recommendation from them would be beneficial to your cause. Let them decide that they can help you, and express gratitude at the fact that they would be willing to help you.

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