Way back when, I remember being taught that when you want to say a really polite "thank you", sentences such as these are basically the same:



But are they really? Does it make a difference if a) I specifically asked for corrections, or b) the corrections were voluntarily offered?

Furthermore, if these were truly the same, why is it you always hear the first of this following pair, but rarely the second?



Unless you switch things up a bit:



What is the nuance buried in this pair? In what "thank you" situations can one be used and not the other?

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    My instinct is that いただく puts the emphasis on the speaker and their act of receiving, while くださる puts the emphasis on the other person and their act of giving. – Amanda S Jun 10 '11 at 20:01
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    I'm far from being an authority on Keigo, but I think the key for the answer here lies in what Tsuyoshi has described so well in his answer to the linked question: for いただく, the subject is the one who receives the favor, while for くださる the subject is the one who gives the favor. That might be especially important for relative clauses, but I just don't have the feel for for keigo enough to know if my hunch is right... In your last pair of examples, which example is the more common one? – Boaz Yaniv Jun 10 '11 at 20:53
  • @Amanda, @Boaz: That makes sense with くれる and もらう, since もらう tends to imply that you had someone do something for you, i.e. there was a request involved. But I'm wondering if that transfers to くださる and いただく as well. Whether or not stores "request" that you come in, during the in-store announcements they usually seem to put themselves as the receivers of a (indirectly requested?) favor. In my American mind, it seems like it could easily go both ways. – Derek Schaab Jun 10 '11 at 21:12
  • (meta: could you use some kind of notation to indicate which of your example sentences are more common in each pair?) – Amanda S Jun 10 '11 at 21:30

I had been wondering for years why we hear ~いただきましてありがとうございます more often than ~くださいましてありがとうございます, but now I can make up a plausible explanation, inspired by Boaz’s comment on the question. This is very incomplete, but let me post it as an answer because I hope that it explains a small part of the question.

As a background, as explained in the answers to this question, いただく is to receive and くださる is to give. So the grammatical subject of the first part of the sentence


is the speaker (who “received” the favor), while the grammatical subject of the first part of the sentence


is the listener (who “gave” the favor). Both describe the same fact and the only difference is perspective. I do not think that there is any difference in meaning between the two sentences in each pair, and we can use both sentences no matter whether the favor was offered voluntarily or as a result of asking.

Now why do we hear ~いただきまして more often than ~くださいまして? I do not have a reference at hand, but as I wrote in the answer to the other question, one of the ways to express the politeness in Japanese is by avoiding using the person to be respected as the grammatical subject. This is probably why we hear ~いただきましてありがとうございます more often than ~くださいましてありがとうございます.

Because ~くださいまして is more direct in the sense that it uses the listener as a subject, there might be cases where the sentence using ~くださいまして has a nuance of the favor offered voluntarily, but I cannot get a grip on this. Even if this nuance exists, it is understandable that ~いただきまして is used more often simply because ~いただきまして is more polite.

I have no idea which of ご来店いただいたお客様 and ご来店くださったお客様 is used more often, and if the latter is more common, I do not know the reason for that.

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    My way of thinking about it has always been to see いただく as the polite (but otherwise semantically identical) form of 貰う. In such a case, the difference in use between いただく/もらう and くださる becomes straightforward. Am I wrong with this? – Dave Jun 12 '11 at 3:20
  • @Dave: You are right, and that is what Lukman and I wrote as the answers to the other question. Now in this question, both いただく and くださる are correct, and I cannot explain the difference between two by just considering いただく as receive and くださる as give. If you can, I am happy to know about it. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 12 '11 at 3:34
  • I am afraid my grammar is way too weak for anything more than what's been said (that instinctively one puts the emphasis on 'receiving' and therefore the receiver as the subject, whereas the other puts it on 'giving' and makes the [higher ranked] giver the subject). I was just wondering if I was missing something beyond this straightforward difference :-) – Dave Jun 12 '11 at 3:42

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