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  1. お飲み物はどうなさいますか。
  2. お飲み物はどういたしますか。

I can't understand how one might be used instead of the other.

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    Please try to use specific question titles. "What is the difference?" is not an acceptable title. – snailboat Feb 12 at 21:03
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なさる, whose polite form is なさいます, is 尊敬語{そんけいご} 'honorific language', whereas いたす, whose polite form is いたします, is 謙譲語{けんじょうご} 'humble language'.

You would use なさる to show respect for somebody performing an action, whereas いたす humbles your own actions in respectful environments. Both are ultimately about respect, of course.

お飲み物はどうなさいますか。= 'What are you going to do about the drinks?'

お飲み物はどういたしますか。= 'What shall I do about the drinks?'

  • The difference between honorific and humble languages entails that in one case the (implicit) subject must be the 1st person (or assimilated) and in the other it can only be (respected) 2nd or 3rd person. – Mathieu Bouville Feb 12 at 21:45
  • @MathieuBouville I'm pretty sure humble language can be used in reference to another person - for example, speaking of someone from your own company to a representative from another company. Maybe a native speaker can shed some light, though. – Aeon Akechi Feb 12 at 22:06
  • But one of my examples says コーヒーはどのようにいたしますか = "how do you like your coffee?" Is this wrong? – Omae wa mou shindeiru Feb 12 at 22:27
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    @Omaewamoushindeiru It's more like 'How would you like your coffee?', which is a loose translation to begin with. Literally it's something like 'How shall I make your coffee for you?' – Aeon Akechi Feb 12 at 22:28
  • @AeonAkechi We agree. This is what I meant by 'assimilated': me or someone related to me (family, company, etc.). – Mathieu Bouville Feb 13 at 8:15

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