In the nhk course for Japanese, I came across the following lines:


which means

Sakura. This is for you.



means "Please". Then how can


mean "This is for you"?

  • jisho.org/search/どうぞ
    – macraf
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 6:33
  • 4
    If you look at a Japanese dictionary you'll see both of the meanings you mentioned spelled out. It's as simple as that; it has multiple meanings.
    – Leebo
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 6:51
  • The どうぞ that is translatable to "please" and the どうぞ translatable to "This is for you." are not semantically different, at least not as different as "please" and "This is for you." are. The latter "どうぞ" does mean "please" (it has the same meaning as in "どうぞ受け取ってください/Please take it."), to the extent that "どうぞ" can be said to mean "please" generally, but it's not what English-speaking people would normally say in the given situation. So whoever translated it had to came up with some expression that sounds more natural and have a similar communicative purpose, and that was "This is for you."
    – goldbrick
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 0:18

3 Answers 3


It not so much that "どうぞ" has differently defined meanings as that it doesn't have a "meaning" in and of itself. It is an expression used when inviting, encouraging, permitting or asking someone to do something. (I agree it works somewhat like "please".)

What, therefore, that something that you are inviting, etc. the addressee to do by its utterance is wholly dependent on the context.

For example, if you say "どうぞ" to someone standing by an unoccupied chair, gesturing toward it, by that you are inviting them to sit in it. This "どうぞ" may be translated as "Take your seat."

Or picture two people rushing to a bus and reaching the door at the same time, almost bumping into each other. One might say to the other "お先にどうぞ" or just "どうぞ". This is a courteous way of telling them to go on first. A fitting translation here may be "After you."

Or imagine, lastly, that I got you are a present and I'm holding it out to you, so that I can give it to you. As an encouragement for you to take it, I may accompany this with "はい、どうぞ", or, as I might as well say in English to accomplish the same goal, "This is for you."

The use of all three "どうぞ"s above is the same. But since their contexts and therefore their pragmatic meanings differ greatly, translations for these instances of the same word may also differ to the same extent.

  • Those different scenarios do have separate listed entries though. weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%A9%E3%81%86%E3%81%9E
    – Leebo
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 12:04
  • Do they? To me they all seem to fall under the second entry: ② 相手の動作を促したり,物を勧めたりするときに用いる語。
    – goldbrick
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 14:13
  • The two meanings mentioned in the question, はいどうず meaning "here you are" is #3, at least to my reading of it, and どうぞ meaning "please" as just a polite expression when making a request is #1. In any case, it's not merely a matter of translation, there are multiple entries for the word in monolingual dictionaries.
    – Leebo
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 14:22
  • Oh, you meant those in the question. Well, as for the bare "どうぞ" which the OP thinks means "please", you don't know it's for making a polite request rather than for invitation, since there's no context given. It could be a "どうぞ/please" as in, say, "どうぞお座りください/Please sit down," but then how do you propose to say that it's a polite request but not a polite invitation?
    – goldbrick
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 23:34
  • 1
    Look, I'm not trying to start a thing here, but it sounded like your answer was refuting the comment I left on the question, and making a claim that the word actually has no meaning in and of itself. So I linked to the source I was referring to. I'm not claiming to be a better source of Japanese than a dictionary written by native speakers for native speakers, so I'm not going to try to write my own definitions for words.
    – Leebo
    Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 0:13

If you are waiting for a drink at Pub, a bartender might say.


Here you go. This is your Bombay Sapphire on the rocks. In this case, a bartender serves your drink in front of you.

If you came across someone else just in front of a cashier register and you want to give him first turn, you might say


Αfter you.

Both case, どうぞ works as a recommendation. And, in most case, she does.


どうぞ can be translated as "Here you are," "This is for you."

はい can be translated as "Here you are," "This is for you" in some contexts.

はい、どうぞ can be translated as "Here you are," "This is for you." This is a longer version.

This is not quite surprise.

For example,

"Thanks" expresses the gratitude to the listener. The shorter version.

"You" means the second person, the listener.

"Thank you" still means the gratitude to the listener. The longer version.

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