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すみません。この封筒に二百円の切手を貼って出してください。

I know that in this situation I could say just すみません、not すみませんが。Both mean "excuse me." Still, there must be at least a slight difference between すみませんが and すみません. What is the difference? (It seems to me that the particle implies request, asking for attention, but I'm not sure)

Thank you!

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    What's the difference between "excuse me, ..." and "excuse me, but..." in English? – user3856370 May 30 at 7:32
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    @TomKelly If I hear すみませんが, I absolutely except the speaker has something more to add. Am I missing something? – naruto May 30 at 11:49
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Also depends a lot of the reason why (and hence the tone in which) the speaker says すみません or すみませんが. I think it is a bit risky to use すみませんが if you simply want to be polite, as it could be taken as the hostile すみませんが (used to attrack attention when you want to point out something that you are not satisfied with) even if you (like me, a foreigner) tried to articulate it in a polite way.

If you want to use すみませんが in a way where you basically apologize for interrupting or just for asking for the person's attention, using おそれいりますが but this would sound awkward from someone non-Japanese-speaker who does not master the language extremely well (I would not use that phrase).

Tuomo

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Literally, the が here means “but” (in this case it is not used as a particle). Polite or humble Japanese often uses が or けど to end subclauses. Similarly, passive or negative verbs are used as it is considered more polite to be indirect.

すみません、~ ください。

Excuse me but could you please ~

In this case すみません (which has many different uses) is used to get attention and make a request. It is a reasonably polite way to make a request (suggestion or demand) but would not be considered an apology: do not use すみません to say sorry, it will sound insincere to give an excuse.

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    Thank you very much. I've read that sometimes "ga" indicates that there is more to say, that the speaker hasn't finished. Would you say it's the same thing here? – Enguroo May 30 at 8:17
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    If you take issue with this answer, please submit your own answer, suggest an edit, or comment on the issue. Downvoting an accepted answer with no alternative or explanation is highly unconventional. Thus far concerns have only been raised by @naruto about my comment, not the answer itself (in the context of the example given in the question). – Tom Kelly Jun 3 at 1:02

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