I've heard させていただけないでしょうか is a more formal version of させていただけませんか, is this true?

If so, what's an example scenario in which you would use the first structure

させていただけないでしょう and not させていただけませんか

I've seen させていただきたい(んです) used for 'indirect use' but I don't really understand what that means. How does it differ to the previous structures and where can it be used correctly?

Thank you for any help!


  • You read my mind. I found this answer choice on a Noken 4 when a student asks his teacher to do something for him...and I answered the less polite. The more polite version sounds weird, and some japanese friends were confused and couldn't explain why... they were not agreeing at all about this either... confusing.
    – darkgaze
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


In general, a request can be more modest and politer if we choose more indirect expressions, including "question"-type syntax, "negative"-form syntax, and longer phrases, in many languages. At least in Japanese and English.

For example,

    1. Open the window.
    1. Open the window, please.
    1. Can you open the window?
    1. Could you open the window?
    1. Would you mind opening the window for me?
    1. It would be a great appreciation for me if I could ask you to open the window for me. (Exaggeration. lol)

Some expressions are abrupt and impolite in some situations, and some are too polite and redundant, seeming rather sarcastic in some situations. But generally speaking, the more the number up, the politer it would become.


    1. させてくれ。
    1. させてください。
    1. させていただきたいんです。
    1. させていただけますか。
    1. させていただけませんか。
    1. させていただけないでしょうか。
    1. させていただければ大変光栄と存じます。
    1. させていただけるかお尋ねすることが許されるのなら、是非お尋ねしたいと考えておりました。無理なお願いになりますでしょうか。(←誇張 何を言ってるのかわからないほどの婉曲化(笑))

Aside from the exaggeration, more the number up, the politer the sentence becomes.

Do you understand this logic?

  • How would させていただけますでしょうか fit in? Or is it actually not grammatically correct? Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 9:33

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