Questions tagged [politeness]

丁寧表現(待遇表現). From social politeness ("please", "thank you", etc) to the technical Japanese grammatical concepts of honorifics and respectful and humble forms known as "keigo".

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2answers
3k views

“お手伝いできますか?” used to ask for help

Is this a natural combination of phrases when asking for help when you are lost somewhere? 道に迷ってるんですけど、お手伝いできますか? My gut feeling is the "お手伝いできますか" part is awkward and sounds like a literal ...
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244 views

Choosing the correct level of politeness when translating foreign material

Here is my question: how do you choose the correct level of politeness in Japanese, when translating foreign material that may not follow Japanese rules? Let's say we have a formal setting, e.g. a ...
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1answer
846 views

What's the difference among ~てください, くださいますか, and くださいませんか?

I think all three expressions are used to show my requests to someone who are superior than me. However I am wondering if there are any nuance differences in these expressions. For example: (1) ...
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1answer
942 views

What is the difference between 行きます and 行ってきます (ました、ません etc)?

When talking with a friend in Japanese, they said "行ってないです", they cannot explain why it's different from "行きません/でした". As far as I'm aware, I'm not sure what the difference would be in terms of it ...
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692 views

Asking someone to autograph your shirt

I'm travelling through Japan and I've been asking cool people I meet to sign my shirt in Japanese. I've been saying this: sain shitemoratte ii desu ka? And they always ask sain? and laugh then ...
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127 views

The humble (謙譲語) prefix 愚 when used to refer to own family members

I read about kenjougo (here and here) and understood that it is a type of honorific speech used to lower your rank below the person you are speaking to when you describe the actions of yourself or ...
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1answer
112 views

Is it appropriate (and friendly) to say こんにちは to random people?

For example, if I pass a random person on the sidewalk in Japan, would it be appropriate to say こんにちは? I've had people do that to me. Is it considered friendly? Polite? Rude? Does it depend on ...
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3answers
263 views

How do I know which sentence is more polite?

To say the phrase, "Teacher has arrived." A 先生が来られました and B 先生がお越しになりました It should have an order or a rule to compare A and B.
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How would one refer to someone else's lover in 尊敬語?

I've searched the internet, but can't really find anything. My first thoughts were お恋人 and お付き合いの方, but the first doesn't seem very common, and the latter seems to have a different meaning.
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Alternate ways to say 結構です?

For this question, I mean 結構 in the sense of 'no thanks.' So if I were to say 結構です informally, it would be 結構. And if I wanted to sound more strong about it, I would add もう in front of 結構 so it'd be ...
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Natural phrasing when introducing yourself and the reason you are arriving somewhere

I'm looking for a natural expression to introduce myself and the reason I have come to a certain place. In my specific case, I will be going to a school to observe (with an appointment at a specific ...
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1answer
135 views

Expansion and politeness of 飲んじゃいなよ

Dad says he'll take his daughter out in an hour, after having a beer. The daughter says: 「そんなのあと一時間もかかんないじゃん。ぐ~~っと飲んじゃいなよ」 After one like that it won't take even an hour will it? Gulp it down in ...
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1answer
378 views

Casual way to enter a home?

As far as I know, おはいりください might be used to invite someone in when they are visiting your home. I was wondering if this would be used by friends who have visited each other's houses a few times before....
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Is it okay to say 'ohayo gozaimasu' in first meeting with a Japanese stranger?

I've seen a lot of people saying that First Learners should be careful when greeting a Japanese. I have to be careful how to address Japanese people with '-Chan', '-Kun', '-San' and '-Sama' and also ...
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236 views

Asking about a touchy subject: English ability

I am working with some Japanese authors and doing translations of their works, and in communicating with them I have frequently run into the need to ask them to review my translation if they have ...
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Uses of 'すみません'

I came across many situations where the word 'sumimasen' was used: Apology Thanks and apology Making a request Getting attention Taking leave Above are most common I could find, however, take ...
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273 views

Which is more formal/polite: 大いに or ずいぶん?

I know とても is not very formal, but what about ずいぶん and 大いに? Are ずいぶん and 大いに interchangeable, and if so, which is more formal?
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Different ways to say to like?

On one self-teaching site, I learned to say "to not like" in a format like this: いぬはすきじゃりません。But in a self-teaching book it said to format it like this: いぬはすきではありません。I know there are many different ...
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478 views

Why does the person who wants to cancel an appointment say キャンセルさせてください to his/her partner?

Assume A has a partner named B. Last week both made an appointment to have dinner (dating). For a certain reason, A cannot come for the appointment and calls B by phone saying ・・・キャンセルさせてください。 ...
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Why does くださる have an irregular infinitive form (ください)?

I may be using the wrong term, but I understand the infinitive form of a verb in Japanese to be the form we add ~ます to. In the case of ichidan verbs, we take away the ~る and add ~ます、and for godan ...
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幾人も or 一杯? Kanji or hiragana?

I am writing the following sentence: サン・パウロに日本人がいっぱいいるから。。。よかったですね! And I'd like to know if 幾人も could be a more respectful/more natural replacement for 一杯, and whether I should be using kanji.
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What is the recommended timing for あけおめ ことよろ?

Contrarily to the abbreviated informal (if not rude) version I used in the title, the usual greeting for the New Year is quite long: 明けましておめでとうございます。今年もよろしくお願いします。 Those are two sentences, and it ...
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1answer
431 views

What is the difference between によると and によりますと?

What is the difference between Aによると、B。 and  Aによりますと、B。? In the texts I'm refering to both structures seem to mean 'According to A, it is B'. However, the first was used in simplified articles, ...
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204 views

Using polite form for neutral subjects

I am trying to write a short message to a japanese acquaintance and am planning to use this sentence: 今日はとても暑くて、雪がそろそろ溶けている。 I know that, in this context, I should use the polite form 「溶けています」. ...
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285 views

Meaning of おられる姿

小池百合子都知事の頑張っている姿、私は最大限評価している。ある意味の古い政治と向き合って戦っておられる姿、共鳴もする。 How do you understand おられる姿?
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271 views

“お休みなさい” not appropriate between male neighbours?

In a japanese マンション I noticed that after sharing the common elevator when going back home at night, most of the female residents would greet by "お休みなさい" before leaving, while it seemed that male ...
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661 views

Greeting when meeting somebody a second time in the day?

Let's say I went to the doctor in the morning, greeting the venerable professional with a sincere "こんにちは", and that I left him after he healed my terrible headache. Now let's say that during the ...
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“A様がおられますでしょうか?” : Isn't おる 謙譲語? [duplicate]

I heard a very polite employee say to a customer over the phone: A様がおられますでしょうか? Most people would say いらっしゃいます instead of おられます. The use of おる here surprises me because I have been told it is 謙譲語. ...
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How to respond when someone praises about my Japanese?

While talking with some Japanese people in an online form, someone said 日本語上手ですね! to me. I just replied そうですか, but what would be an appropriate way to reply keeping it as less informal as possible. ...
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236 views

Is お父さん appropriate for formal writing?

As I understand it お父さん is the usual way to refer to someone else's father in everyday speech. What about when you are writing a formal discussion (for an academic audience) of an interview you had ...
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1answer
460 views

Origin of ません (-masen)?

I understand that polite forms like yomimasu are actually (or originated as) infinitive yomi + auxiliary verb masu in its plain non-past form. Then past form yomimashita is just infinitive yomi + ...
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1answer
206 views

Is it rude to always attach furigana to every Kanji used in letters directed to superiors?

I am not sure whether or not attaching furigana changes the nuance of politeness. My question: Is it rude to always attach furigana to every Kanji used in letters directed to superiors? Note: the ...
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2answers
191 views

Do story/literature need to be written politely?

Vary quick question. But i have vary little in the way of available Japanese reading material in the form of stories, but i thought it might be fun to try translating one of my short-stories into ...
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2answers
140 views

Dialogue and politeness level in 風の又三郎

I have two questions regarding the style of the classic story 風の又三郎 by 宮沢賢治. (Full text available on 青空文庫) 1) Most of the characters use a dialect which I believe is 岩手弁, which comes from the author'...
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Difference between おかあさん and ははおや

What is the difference between these two terms for the word «mother»? おかあさん ははおや Is there a difference in politeness/register in addressing someone, our some other form of difference between these ...
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319 views

Usage of 私{わたし} in Informal Situations

I know Japanese males tend to use 俺{おれ}/僕{ぼく} in informal contexts. Is it common to use 私{わたし} too or it makes one sounds overly stiff and aloof? Edit: What about 自分{じぶん}?
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When does omission of です constitute casual speech?

In many textbooks, polite style speech is taught, which means です and ます endings are introduced, and used in many sentences. However, I have encountered sentences with omissions, for example sentences ...
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“jan”, “janai”, “ne”, “desu ne” — the same more or less? [duplicate]

I'm trying to understand how to use "jan". "jan" is a short version of "ja nai", correct? And it also seems to be almost the same as "ne?" and "desu ne?". Is this correct as well? Can I use them ...
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732 views

Under what Japanese honorific should manga/anime fans address manga-ka/anime directors?

I speculate that there might be some sort of spectrum of the honorifics to use for manga-ka/anime directors. For example, I think one might be able to get away with addressing younger, and more, for ...
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2answers
890 views

Imperative form is rude…?

So I've been digging around some more and found this image from a PDF here. Basically, it said that the Imperative form (such as 見ろ{みろ} or 飛べ{とべ}) is usually considered ruder than the ~て form (such ...
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181 views

Compound sentence and politeness

I have a sentence "I study because I'm a student": 私は学生だから私は勉強する Can I replace the だ in だから with です to make it more polite? In the following way: 私は学生ですから私は勉強する Please correct me if my ...
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1answer
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Ways to say 'You needn't apologize'

How would one politely assure another that there is no need to apologize? For formal use I think it might be 謝られる必要はありません; does this sound good? For more casual use, could you say いえ like when you ...
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1answer
585 views

Is there a convention to always place yourself last in a list of people?

In English, a convention is to always say yourself last in a list of people: (1) Mr. Tanaka and I drank tea. // <--- natural (2) I and Mr. Tanaka drank tea. // <--- grammatically correct ...
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1answer
2k views

A good and polite way to ask “How long have you been playing drums?”

How to correctly ask "how long have you been playing drums?" in a forum? I tried to come up with my own question but I don't know if it is grammatically correct and/or polite. Here is what I came up ...
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544 views

What makes 「どこからきた?」 rude?

It was mentioned in a comment that 「どこからきた?」 is not only informal, but outright rude. The way the comment is written makes me think that this goes beyond grammatical politeness and would be improper ...
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How to use ~先生 properly with co-workers?

I teach English at an elementary school in Japan. While working I normally call the teachers by their last name plus 先生. Like 田中先生 for example. However, after work, let's say 田中先生 invites me to ...
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684 views

When would you use 敬語 in its plain forms?

Are there any examples of people using verbs such as いただく, 参る, 申す, いたす (and their 尊敬語 counterparts, along with the various other humble/respectful verbs) in those plain forms, rather than conjugated ...
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What is the difference between formal and polite verb forms?

In the answer to this question I asked (When to use である vs であります?), sazarando responded by saying that "である" is formal but not polite, and "です" is polite but not formal. I sort of understand the ...
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When to use である vs であります?

I understand that である is the "written" form of だ/です. Because it's a "written" form, doesn't that already imply a certain level of formality? So when would one use であります as opposed to just である? If you ...
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559 views

What does “sensitive” or “sens” mean?

For example, Jisho marks 医者 (doctor) as sensitive, as does the flashcard set I've been using. I don't understand what this annotation means; "doctor" doesn't seem like a particularly sensitive term to ...

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