For asking someone to lend you something:

  • 貸してください


  • かりてもいいですか

Is there any difference and which one is more used in real life?


2 Answers 2


Rather than asking which of these forms is more used, we can look at in which contexts each of these forms is appropriate.


Means, "Please lend it to me." The verb 貸す "lend" is changed to the -te form, and 下さい "please" is added to turn this into a request.

As this involves more or less directly asking somebody to do something, you should probably not use it with people that you do not know well or that are of higher social status (ex: instructors, the police).


This one means, "Is it okay if I borrow it?" The verb here is 借りる "borrow" (as opposed to lend in the sentence above). It is changed to the -te form, and -mo ii desu ka? "is it okay if I VERB?" is added. This one is more polite because it uses the desu/-masu form, and doesn't directly ask the person you are speaking to to do something. Rather, you are asking if it is OK if you do something. If it is okay to ask to borrow something to begin with, this should be a generally appropriate way to ask.


Finally, this sentence, like the first one means something like Can you lend it to me? It uses the verb 貸す "lend". As with the first, it is first changed to the -te form, but this time -kurenai "do for me" is added. This one should probably only be used with people that are close to you.

Of these three choices, [借]{か}りてもいいですか? is the most polite choice and therefore your "safest" choice for getting your meaning across without offending anybody.

  • 1
    Thanks a lot for your answer!, So かりてもいいですか is used in that context?, It's funny because we change the direction of the verb for asking the same thing ;) Aug 5, 2017 at 20:23

貸してください is more direct expression than かりてもいいですか. In other words, かりてもいいですか is more indirect and politer.

For example,

  • Let me use this.
  • Can I use this?
  • Would you mind if I use this?

They basically means the same thing. A request to use it, right? However, indirect expressions are more polite than the direct expression.

It is up to your relationship, but generally speaking, かりてもいいですか is safer than 貸してください to use in a lot of situations, considering the communication between native speakers.

As for international communication by non-native Japanese speakers whose Japanese is not so good, the two sentences can function completely the same. Therefore, you can choose both whichever you like.

It depends on the fluency of Japanese, and context, background and situations.

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