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男:今朝の新聞、お読みになりましたか。

女:いえ、お読みしませんでした。

According to my textbook, this response is incorrect? Why? I thought this pattern is 謙譲語 and suitable. Are there additional rules around this pattern that I'm not aware of?

Incidentally, the correct response is:

いいえ、読んでいませんが。

Which I don't dispute sounds fine to me as well.

  • Does the textbook say what the relationship between the two people is? We can make some assumptions from the way the man is speaking, but I'm just curious. – Leebo Nov 1 at 21:24
  • There is no additional background and is presented as is. The context is a listening practice quick-response question where a question/statement is asked/said and you must pick the correct response from 3 choices. – octosquakk Nov 1 at 21:26
  • I don't know about your particular textbook, but in material like jlpt test or shin kanzen master it's rarely about a black and white correct vs incorrect, it's about selecting the most fitting answer. – Thomas Petit Nov 2 at 0:06
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There are two reasons why the woman's response is incorrect.

  • You have to use ~ていません instead of ~ませんでした. I understand this seems weird at first but you have to get used to it. See: When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state? and Why is a verb in the past (た形) contradicted with ~ていない?
  • In general, you can use the お~する form only when that action affects the person you are paying respect to (usually the listener). For example you can say お渡しする, お伝えする and お待ちする, but not お食べする, お帰りする, お楽しみする. Reading a newspaper is something you can do alone, so you cannot usually say お読みする. As an exception, you can safely say 新聞をお読みします when you read a newspaper out loud to your boss.

Therefore, the correct response is:

  • いいえ、読んでいません。
  • いいえ、読んでおりません。

The latter is politer. You can simply say "はい、読みました" if the answer is yes.

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