I have come across the sentence


which translates into idiomatic English as

Can you please translate today's writing into Japanese, please?

and maybe more literally as:

Today's writing's Japanese translation, please.

Question: Is the word "お願いします" seen by Japanese speakers as a single unit, so that "お願いします" just means "please"? Or is it seen as two units:

お願い + します

If it's seen in this second way, is its literal translation then something like "[you] doing favor", so that the best (literal) translation of the original sentence becomes

Today's writing's Japanese translation, [you] doing [me] a favor.


  • 1
    Whether it's analysed as one unit or two now, I'm pretty sure it's originally the 謙譲語 of 願う. hence 'I humbly wish', not 'you' do anything
    – Angelos
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 23:00
  • 今の文章の today's writing -- Is it 「[今]{いま}の文章」? or 「[今日]{きょう}の文章」?
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


Is the word "お願いします" seen by Japanese speakers as a single unit

I'd see it as a single unit: お~~する humble form (謙譲語) of the verb 願う, as @Angelos has commented.

"Is お願いします two words or one? -- お願いします consists of four [語]{ご}'s: prefix お + verb 願う + subsidiary verb (補助動詞) する + auxiliary (助動詞) ます.   

For more on お/ご~~する humble form, you may want to see these threads:

The verb 願う is defined in 明鏡国語辞典 this way:


As you can see, 願う used in the expression お願いします means 他人に対して、こうしてほしいと頼む, "to ask others to do this". So the literal translation of お願いします would be "I humbly ask you to do this".

So a very literal translation of your sentence would be like:

I humbly ask you to do a Japanese translation of this sentence.

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