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So I want to say, "then can you show me your face?" politely in Japanese. I'm a newbie learner.

I'd normally go with, "それでは顔を見せることができますか" or alternatively "それでは顔を見せますか" But I've heard a Japanese person say, "それでは顔を見せていただけますか."

So my question is, are my examples unusable? What's the difference amongst all of them? And how polite are they?

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  • Are you just asking about the relative politeness levels or do you also not understand the grammar behind 見せていただけますか? Jan 15, 2023 at 11:14
  • I'd appreciate a grammatical explanation behind 見せていただけますか and where that いただけます phrase comes from and then the politeness comparsion between that and what I originally thought if possible, and also perhaps which one is the most suitable in a friendly context. Thank you very much in advance. Jan 15, 2023 at 11:20

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Firstly, I recommend you find some tutorials on giving and receiving verbs.

見せていただけますか is the verb 見せる in the te-form + the verb いただく in the potential form + the question particle.

いただく is the humble version of もらう and both verbs mean "to receive". When added to the te-form of a verb they mean "receive the favour of someone doing ...". So 見せていただけますか is literally "can I receive the favour of you showing me" or more sensibly "please show me". Basically you are asking someone to do something for you.

顔を見せることができますか is simply "Are you able to show your face?" and 顔を見せますか is "will you show your face?". Certainly they're both less polite, but whether there's a situation in which you could use them in your intended context, I'll leave to someone more knowledgeable.

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  • Okay thank you. I already knew and used 貰う, just did not know いただく was the polite version of it. With your explanation, now I totally got it. Jan 17, 2023 at 8:16
  • Then I guess we can also say, 見せてもらえ ますか as a less polite alternative. Jan 17, 2023 at 8:32

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