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, 2018 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


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, 2018 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. Oct 29, 2018 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.'
    – Angelos
    Oct 29, 2018 at 18:43
  • Edited for clarity. I didn't realize how misleading that was at first. Thank you for pointing it out. Oct 29, 2018 at 19:21

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