I think all three expressions are used to show my requests to someone who are superior than me. However I am wondering if there are any nuance differences in these expressions. For example:

(1) もっとはっきり書いてください。

(2) もっとはっきり書いてくださいますか。

(3) もっとはっきり書いてくださいませんか。

I can feel that it is more polite to say (3) or (2) than (1). But am I correct?


The nuances of these requests are not far from their English counterparts, actually.


Please write more clearly.

This is a direct request, but isn't rude by any means.


Would you write more clearly (for me)?

This, just like in English, is less direct and therefore showing a bit more respect to the listener.


Wouldn't you write more clearly (for me)?

In this form it feels more like an invitation than a question but is very similar to the previous.

In most cases I would use the first. It has a pretty broad usage. If I were feeling the need to be more polite (maybe I'm speaking to a teacher I don't know well) then I would use the second. If I were inviting a superior to do something for me or come somewhere I would use the third. Knowing which one to use often comes down to having lots of practice with social situations and a good grasp on context.

  • I've learned very early, もっとはっきり書いていただけませえんか。is the form to use when addressing to superior or teacher. How about もっとはっきりお書きください。Even if that's very weird to ask someone higher to write clearly...
    – Alexis
    Feb 22 '19 at 3:57

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