From a glance I'm guessing て + いる (~ていよう) is the volitional casual and ~ましょう is the polite form of it?

Are these the same meaning? "Let's eat" or am I making a wrong assumption?

  • What's the context? It could be A and B are talking while eating, but need to finish up the meal so one of them suggested they stop talking and continue eating (食べていよう)? – DXV Aug 23 '18 at 0:07
  • @virmaior 食べていようis completely grammatical and natural-sounding. – l'électeur Aug 23 '18 at 1:22
  • @l'électeur learned something completely new today! – virmaior Aug 23 '18 at 4:54



There is such a huge difference in meaning between those two expressions that they would rarely, if ever, be interchangeable.

「食べましょう。」 is the default "Let's eat!" or "Lets's dig in!". You just start eating after having said it.

「食べていよう。」 means "Let's continue/keep eating!" and it can only be said in certain (special) situations.

An example situation:

Something happens just when a group of people are starting to eat, one of them must leave the table to check something someplace. It could be a phone call or a knock on the door; It could be anything that could possibly interrupt the meal for a while. The rest of you have a choice between continuing to eat and stopping eating to wait for that one person to return. If you decide to continue eating, you can say 「食べていよう」.

Thus, 「食べましょう。」 would be used far more often than 「食べていよう。」. No comparison here, really.

  • I see it carries the progressiveness of the いる conjugation. This explains so much, thank you! – Tek Aug 23 '18 at 2:29

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