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その鞄は機内へのお持ち込みはできません
You cannot bring that bag on board

I'm struggling to understand the grammar of this sentence. I'm aware that you can make the humble form of a verb by adding an お onto the masu-stem and then adding する. I assumed that is what was going on here. So we have 持ち込む --> お持ち込みする

Turning する into できる seems okay to make the potential form. But then we also seem to be treating the お持ち込み as an independent noun. I'm happy that masu-stems can be used as nouns but what's troubling me is that none of that humble form structure we made has remained unscathed. In a plain sentence I would have just said 機内に持ち込むことができない (is that okay?).

I'm happy with the への part (田中への手紙 etc) but I don't understand why it is necessary here. Why not simply 機内お持ち込みはできません as in my plain example?

I guess I'm also nervous about the は in the middle of お持ち込みはできません. It makes me think that may my analysis of it being the humble verb form is completely wrong.

Anyway I'm rambling now. The bottom line is that I have no idea how to parse this sentence correctly. Could someone please explain the grammar and provide some additional simple examples?

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  • Can you explain what you mean by "none of that humble form structure we made has remained unscathed"?
    – Eddie Kal
    May 10 at 21:42
  • @EddieKal Sorry, I was finding it hard to explain. I mean that I had お+masu-stem+する and the masu-stem got absorbed into an AへのB structure and the する turned into a できる. It just seems like I might be barking up the wrong tree entirely. May 10 at 21:44
  • From what I remember the masu-stem is a form of nominalization much as what they call verbal nouns such as 料理する、掃除する、山登りする: noun+する (Some sources consider 料理 a verbal noun, while per others (e.g. Japanese: A Comprehensive Grammar Routledge) 料理 is a noun and 料理する a verbal noun). I think syntactically your example isn't different from その言い方はしません、奥さんへの手紙は届かない. Noun + topic marker + inflected verb/verb phrase
    – Eddie Kal
    May 10 at 22:12
  • Why would you use a humble form to refer to something customers do?
    – aguijonazo
    May 10 at 22:47
  • @EddieKal I was coming round to that conclusion but it seems strange to take a perfectly adequate verb 持ち込む and butcher it in this way. Perhaps this is the only natural way to get the お in there. Keigo is a nightmare. May 10 at 22:47
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First of all, you don’t use a humble form to refer to something a customer does. So, that お持ち込み was not part of a humble form absorbed into a preceding noun phrase, to begin with. You should treat it like any other noun with a politeness or honorific prefix お, such as お食事.

Then, the sentence must start looking not much different from a sentence like:

こちらでのお食事はできません。

の is necessary here in order for こちらで to modify お食事 to form a noun phrase. The の in 機内へのお持ち込み is necessary for the same reason. The reason it has to be へ, instead of に, is that (*) にの is not a valid combination.

By the way, the corresponding honorific form is お持ち込みになる.


[Clarification] 機内へお持ち込みはできません and 機内にお持ち込みはできません are both as valid as こちらでお食事はできません. If you want to make it a noun phrase, you need の and の doesn’t go well with に.

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