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Example

1 "袋を貰えますか? fukuro wo moraemasu ka?"

2 "袋をいただけますか? fukuro o itadakemasu ka?"

Both mean "Can I have a bag?". However, what is the difference between itadakemasu and moraemasu?

moraemasu is defined as to receive; to take; to accept itadakemasu has a similar definition

So what is the difference and what would be more natural?

Please refer to the examples in your answer.

  • Hint: Make sure you're not confusing "can I" with "may I". – istrasci Oct 29 '18 at 16:20
4

They are both natural. Which you should use depends on the situation.

いただきます is 敬語{けいご} which means that you only use it in situations talking to someone who is clearly above you in social status or in situations where being polite is a must - such as talking with a customer.

もらう, on the other hand, is just neutral. You will hear もらう a lot more often unless you hang out with a "polite" crowd.

As far as how to decide when to use which, refer to this write-up - it is pretty thorough. Just remember, if you are ever not sure, just stick to です and ます form and you should be okay. Just remember to ask someone later.

  • 2
    Is "being polite is not an option" a typo? – naruto Oct 29 '18 at 17:03
  • No, because there are situations where you can go either way depending on your personality, and there are most definitely people who speak polite more often than is necessary. – heretomurimudamura Oct 29 '18 at 17:22
  • @naruto Maybe he means 'you don't get a choice in the matter'. It certainly reads to me like 'you must not be polite', but rereading it I think he means 'you have no option but to be polite', or 'being polite is not an option; it's a mandate.' – Aeon Akechi Oct 29 '18 at 18:43
  • Edited for clarity. I didn't realize how misleading that was at first. Thank you for pointing it out. – heretomurimudamura Oct 29 '18 at 19:21

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