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  1. What are the differences in meaning between these three sentences?

    えいがはなにをみましょうか。
    えいがはなにをみますか。
    えいがはなにをみませんか。

  2. Does the last sentence even make sense?
2

えいがはなにをみましょうか implies an invitation. しましょう(か) means "Let's". It means (私達は)何の映画をみようか("What movie should we watch?" Or "Let's watch a movie. What is a good movie to watch?"),

えいがはなにをみますか is a question. It is "What movies do you watch?"

えいがはなにをみませんか is also a question. You are asking someone what movies he doesn't watch. However, it is rarely used and a bit unnatural. I say どんな映画は見ないのですか.

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I will answer first your 2nd question, and after that I will address your 1st question.


2. Does the last sentence even make sense?

No, the 3rd sentence does not make sense. Only the 1st and the 2nd sentences make sense:

えいがはなにをみますか。Regarding movies, what will [you/we] watch?

えいがはなにをみましょうか。Regarding movies, shall we [you/we] watch?

Using ません or ましょうか turns the question more into a proposal:

ラーメンを食【た】べませんか。Won't [you/we] eat ramen?
ラーメンを食【た】べましょう。Let's eat ramen.

It does not make sense:

えいがはなにをみませんか。Regarding movies, what movie won't [you/we] watch?

To propose the listener to watch a movie with ませんか or ましょうか, you can also use:

  1. なにか (it means "something"), and drop を:

    えいがはなにかみませんか。Regarding movies, won't [you/we] watch some [movie]?
    えいがはなにかみましょうか。Regarding movies, Let's watch some [movie]?

  2. The actual title of the movie:

    えいがはStar Warsをみませんか。Regarding movies, won't [you/we] watch Star Wars?
    えいがはStar Warsをみましょうか。Regarding movies, Let's watch Star Wars?

  3. Remove えいがは and use えいが as the object of 見【み】る directly:

    えいがをみませんか。Won't [you/we] watch Star Wars?
    えいがをみましょうか。Let's watch Star Wars?


1. What are the differences in meaning between these three sentences?

If you compare the three sentences used as a proposal (as explained in the previous section), they mean the same, but the difference is in the level of politeness of each proposal. In the Japanese language, in general, the less direct you are the more polite you sound. So, arranged from the more polite to the less polite:

1) えいがはなにかみませんか。Regarding movies, won't [you/we] watch some [movie]?
2) えいがはなにかみましょうか。Regarding movies, let's watch some [movie]?.
3) えいがはなにかみますか。Regarding movies, will [you/we] watch some [movie]?.

(1)(ませんか) is a negative sentence and therefore it is the most indirect. For this reason, it is the politest one.

(3)(ますか) is a positive sentence and therefore it is the most direct. For this reason, it is the less polite. To be honest, I don't think it is frequently used to make a proposal because it sounds too direct. I guess it is more used as a regular question.

(2)(ましょうか) is somewhat in the middle. ましょう is the standard grammar to make proposals in Japanese. Worth noting that if you don't add the か to ましょう, it is still valid as a proposal sentence, but ましょうか is politer than ましょう because, again, turning it a question by adding か makes it more indirect and therefore, politer. So, adding ましょう to the comparison, from the more polite to the less polite:

1) えいがはなにかみませんか。Regarding movies, won't [you/we] watch some [movie]?
2) えいがはなにかみましょうか。Regarding movies, let's watch some [movie]?.
3) えいがはなにかみましょう。Regarding movies, let's watch some [movie].
4) えいがはなにかみますか。Regarding movies, will [you/we] watch some [movie]?.

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  • 1
    「えいがはなにをみましょうか。」は、"What movie shall we watch?" って意味で使いますね。 – Chocolate Sep 20 '19 at 15:00
  • そうですか。じゃ、答えを直します。「えいがはなにをみませんか」というのは言えますか。 – jarmanso7 Sep 20 '19 at 15:03
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    「えいがはなにをみませんか。」は、ちょっと変ですね。(「見ない・嫌いな映画(のジャンル)は特にありますか・何ですか」って意味かな?と思いますけど。)... あと、「えいがなにみましょうか。」より、「えいがなにみましょうか。(≂なにかえいがをみましょうか。)」って言うような気もしますね・・・ – Chocolate Sep 20 '19 at 15:09

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