In the phrase, 失礼します, 失礼 is an adjective, and yet you are saying "I am beingrude." Not "I do rude" as you might have in そういうことします "I'll do that (I think?)"

So then, can you be any adjective with する?


丁寧したい I want to be polite 易しいしていました I was being nice

”なにをしてる?” ”ハンドサムしてるよ” whatcha doin? "being handsome!"

  • 2
    失礼 is a noun and 失礼する is an intransitive verb.
    – user4092
    Jun 1, 2017 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


On the contrary, 失礼します directly translates to "I do rude" not "I am being rude".
Does it sound awful in English? Of course. But please keep in mind that this is Japanese, not English. It is a language on its own and not the direct word for word translation of the English language.

する is a very flexible verb used in many ways, but in all instances it maintains its core meaning of to do.

Also note that 失礼します is an idiomatic expression, so its usage cannot be generalized to other cases.

How to combine する with an adjective, it will depend on if it is an -i adjective or -na adjective.

綺麗{きれい}にする : Make it clean.
強くする : Make it strong.

In the same way you can use the verb なる.

綺麗{きれい}になる : Become clean.
強くなる : Become strong.

You can also use する with an adjective indirectly as such :

かわいい顔している : Have a cute face.

  • 1
    Many learners of languages, Japanese not excepted, attempt to understand the language through the scope of the language they already know, instead of accepting the language and its nuances at face value. It's harder to explain how things translate from one language to another by doing so, but natural intuition of how things work in another language is increased. You bring up a very important point with your explanation, I think.
    – psosuna
    Jun 2, 2017 at 0:57
  • @stackreader ちょっと英語の表現を直しましたが、stackreaderさんは下の方、普通の英語のみに訳すことがしているが、上の方は直訳のことを表し、それから普通の英語の訳をしました。
    – virmaior
    Jun 2, 2017 at 1:52

@Stack reader's answer is on the spot. I would just like to add an appendage.

As you have no doubt learned, the 'to be' verb in Japanese is です。Additionally, as you have noted, and @stack reader clarified, する is 'to do'. You can, however, use です with 失礼, but you need to be careful, or you'll end up sounding like a 外人 very quickly.

For example:

Is it rude if I ____?


A good rule of thumb here is that you use する whenever you are talking about a person, including yourself. If you are talking about a situation or action, there are times when you could use the 'to be' verb, です and be grammatically correct. The best way to learn the nuances of when to use です or する is to spend time speaking with a Japanese person, and frequently ask them to correct grammatical errors. Pay attention to what they say, as the best language teachers are the people you interact with regularly.

In short, people DO rude. 人間は失礼します。Things (including actions) ARE rude. 状態や行動は失礼です。Just watch out for the nuances of using です in place of する。


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