It doesn't seen to relate to the usual "Let's" that books usually teach.

あなたは 鬼となった者にも"人"という言葉を使ってくださるのですね。そして助けようとしている。ならば 私もあなたを手助けしましょう

Specifically the しましょう at the end.

More examples:

その手紙は わしが拝見いたそう。


In all these sentences the speaker clearly is not inviting anyone to do the action, so why is it used? What would have changed if they had used the "simple" form 「しましょう → します」「いたそう→いたす」「しよう→する」?

  • 1
    I can't answer your question, but certainly, I feel that the speaker adds his intention or feelings to the sentence using the volitional form 意向形. If he said the same with a plain 私もあなたを手助けします, it would sound more "factual", as if it was just scheduled or expected for him to help the listener back, but without any feelings involved, if that makes sense.
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 15, 2022 at 16:48
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    Don't lose sight of the fact that this is the volitional form. Volition. Not specifically a form for invitations.
    – Leebo
    Apr 15, 2022 at 16:53
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    Part of the confusion is that the so-called "volitional" isn't very well named. It is used to express, more generally, "well, kinda sorta, this might happen, perhaps, I think." It's more of a prospective. This is why it works in weather forecasts, when the presenter says things like 「明日【あした】は晴【は】れ[で]{●}[し]{●}[ょ]{●}[う]{●}。」 They aren't talking about what they will or want to do, but rather about what they think might happen. See also the thread, What Does the "Volitional" Really Mean? Apr 15, 2022 at 17:04
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    This is kind of like asking why you say "let me" instead of "I will" when you're not particularly asking the other person's permission.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 15, 2022 at 18:29
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    @EiríkrÚtlendi - But in modern Japanese, only でしょう (and だろう, of course) is used in that sense, isn't it? Whether forecasters don't say 明日は晴れよう, 明日は雨が降ろう, etc.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 15, 2022 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


The volitional form at the end of a sentence doesn’t always refer to a joint action by the speaker and the listener. Under certain circumstances it refers to an action by the speaker alone. One example is when you offer to do something for someone. Usually, you first ask whether that is indeed what the other person wants by turning it into a question by adding か. This is the third and last pattern in this answer.

The version without か, unless it is said in a monologue, is kind of like answering to your own such question before you ask it. It is like letting the listener know what you are going to do for them. The action is most likely something from which they benefit. It could be part of joint efforts towards a common goal.

Without volitional forms, your sentences would sound more like unilateral declarations that leave absolutely no room for other people’s involvement in decision making. Depending on the context, you could even sound as if you are either refusing their involvement or telling them you are having to do whatever it is on your own because they are uncooperative.

I would summarize the difference as one in the degree of involvement on the listener’s part. I feel a similar nuance between “Let me …” and “I will …” in English.

ならば 私もあなたを手助けしましょう
Then, let me help you, too.

ならば 私もあなたを手助けします。
Then, I will help you, too.

その手紙は わしが拝見いたそう。
Let me see that letter (on our behalf).

その手紙は わしが拝見いたす。
I will see that letter (as opposed to anyone else).

Let me (be the one to) vouch for Sasuke.

I will vouch for Sasuke.

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