I've been using the 10k Core Anki set to practice and it seems very well-vetted and written. However it translates 「ティッシュを取ってください」 as "Please pass me a tissue" whereas I would have expected "Please take a tissue." Deepl.com also produced "Please pass me a tissue." Is this typical? Could it be used in other scenarios as well?


1 Answer 1


As you may already know Japanese has a lot of peculiar nuances. In this case it's somewhat contextual.

If you are out of reach of a box of tissue and you are asking someone to pass you a tissue then there is an implication that you would like a tissue. Therefore the sentence "ティッシュを取ってください" is more akin to "Can you pick up a tissue [for me]?".

On the other hand if you are gesturing and holding a box of tissue in front of someone the same sentence could also literally mean "Please take a tissue" as you rightly guessed.

Regarding it's usage in other scenarios perhaps it makes more sense to look at the root sentence "ティッシュを取り出す". Here we can make note that "取る" signifies the action of pulling/picking a tissue out of the box.

Therefore you can use "取る" to refer to any action that involves plucking or picking up something. For example "引き出しからフォークを取ってください" (Please take a fork from the drawer).

However if an object is simply being passed to you it would be strange to use "取る", instead we would use the term "渡す" (watasu - To hand over). For example "鉛筆を渡してください" (Please pass [me] a pencil).

It is possible to completely omit the action and simply say "ティッシュをください" (Please give me a tissue). This would make more sense in the context of a restaurant where you may not physically see them retrieve the tissue.

As a rule of thumb "取る" is generally used when a container of some sort is involved, but confusingly it can also be used to pick things up from a table, shelf, etc. For new learners trying to navigate casual conversation it may be useful to omit these action descriptions that often have to be memorized.

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    – chocolate
    Jul 16, 2021 at 3:15
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    – aguijonazo
    Jul 16, 2021 at 6:52
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    相手が持ってるものを「よこす」意味で、「貸す」は使われるんですよ、日常的に。例えば「ちょっとそれ貸して。」"Give me that." "Give it here." って。「ちょっとそれ渡して。」とは言わないです。「ちょっとその財布貸して。」って、"Give me that wallet", "Let me have a look at that wallet" みたいな意味で使えますね。そのあたりにある鉛筆を渡してもらう場合は「そこの鉛筆取って。」、相手が手に持っている鉛筆を自分に渡してほしい場合は「その鉛筆貸して。」でいいですよ。
    – chocolate
    Jul 16, 2021 at 12:53
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    この「貸す」はこんな感じです:enjoylifenglish.com/2021/06/21/… / lineblog.me/emarosalazka/archives/1234358.html / livedoor.sp.blogimg.jp/hisapri/imgs/6/5/655cf9f7.jpg / livedoor.blogimg.jp/pupuco-gtrqfmgg/imgs/d/1/d14031a3.png いずれも、人から物を「借りる」わけではないです。
    – chocolate
    Jul 16, 2021 at 13:51
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    @user3856370, そうなんですか、ありがとうございます。So "Give me that / Give it here" are not good translations for ちょっと貸して, but I can't find a better translation. Regarding the latter half of your comment, yes, 貸して is used if the person has hold of it, eg (何かを手に持っているor使っている人に)「ちょっと貸して。」, and 取って is used if they don't, eg 「(机の上の)リモコン取って。」「(すぐそこにある)新聞取って。」(←聞き手の結構近くにある場合。離れてるときは「取ってきて」って言う。). 渡して is usually used to mean "Hand it to someone (other than me)" (← This is why I said 「えっ、誰に?」ってなるような... If you said 鉛筆を渡してください out of the blue I'd respond えっ、誰に?)
    – chocolate
    Jul 20, 2021 at 5:04

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