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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11
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2answers
1k views

How to answer someone else's phone?

I am in a Japanese office setup sitting next to my boss. He often gets phone calls but most of the time he is not in his seat. How do I answer his phone say that "This is Mr. XX's seat and this is YY (...
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1answer
587 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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2answers
574 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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Politeness on Twitter

I tweet in Japanese every once in awhile, sometimes to Japanese people and sometimes to all of my followers. I haven't really been able to figure it out, so how does politeness work on Twitter? Some ...
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Is it natural to call elderly men ojiisan?

Is ojiisan an idiomatic word choice for a chronologically gifted man, akin to obaasan for elderly women? For example, when giving your seat to them on the train.
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恐れ入ります correct “thank you” to use after customers make a purchase?

Is 恐れ入ります the correct form of "thank you" when used during a business transaction (for example, a sales person would say this when someone makes a purchase at his/her store)? In the context of an up-...
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1answer
691 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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1answer
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When asking for holidays, should I be more polite than usual?

I saw an colleague's email asking for a few days of vacation, and I was surprised by the ultra-polite level. This colleague is usually on relatively casual terms with the boss, so it was quite ...
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413 views

Why does the waiter use past tense here

When I was trying to order a set meal in the restaurant, the waiter said Aランチのほうでよろしかったでしょうか I am not sure why the past tense よろしかった is used here, I personally would say Aランチのほうでよろしいでしょうか I ...
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917 views

How to respond to ありがとう?

I get it that ありがとう means "thanks", is informal without the ございます added to it and so on. However, I do not know what I should say after someone thanked me. In English, you generally say something ...
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1answer
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How should I bid farewell to a superior?

My boss is leaving soon after years of service. What would be a good way for me to express my gratitude for all of his guidance and help? I am somewhat familiar with the expression お世話になりました but am ...
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Difference in word use: 父親 母親 両親 父母

I would like to ask about the following words: 父親【ちちおや】 and 母親【ははおや】. They refer to father and mother, right? But why do they exist? When do we use them instead of お父【とう】さん and お母【かあ】さん? I have a ...
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1answer
408 views

Situational acceptability of politeness and/or honorific use

Consider: I am expected to use polite forms when speaking to someone socially above me. Let's take for example, a teacher. If our relationship improves, and it becomes permissible for me to speak ...
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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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1answer
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Is it actually impolite to say ご苦労様 to a superior?

Conventional ビジネスマナー tells us that ご苦労様 is used by superiors to subordinates and お疲れ様 used by everyone, and this is backed up all over the internet and stated on some questions here, like this. But ...
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689 views

Addressing other members of the same great family when everyone shares the same surname

Hypothetical situation, let's say we have a great familly meeting, where everyone have the same surname but some members of the familly see each other for the first time. Of course, introductions are ...
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2answers
354 views

Is 見物{みもの} derogatory?

To say something is a 見物, does it have a derogatory nuance like we are making fun of that person / that thing? If so, is it derogatory to the extent that even if I intended it as a fun joke it seems ...
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4answers
701 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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Interpreting させていただきます

Speaker 1:先{さき}に食事{しょくじ}に行{い}っていいよ Speaker 2:では,そうさせていただきます Please help understand this conversation - especially the 'させていただきます' construct. What would this translate into English as?
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How do you politely apologize to a professor for unintentional rudeness?

I received an email from a new professor in my department asking for a native English speaker's check of his paper. Since no one had ever asked me to check their English before, whereas I had ...
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ちょっと and/or むり: How to refuse an invitation with a specific reason?

It is commonly taught that the polite way to refuse an invitation is "ちょっと。。。" However, how do you refuse an invitation, while giving a reason? For example, would it still be considered polite to say ...
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Difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います, 頂けませんか, and 頂きたいんですけども

I've recently started using the expression 頂ければと思います, but I'm not 100% sure about its precise nuance. Is there any difference in nuance between 頂ければと思います 頂けませんか 頂きたいんですけども? To my non-native ear, ...
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3answers
556 views

Is おつかれさん “correct” Japanese to address to someone of lower status?

I have noticed in various environments that some people will sometimes, when speaking to someone of lower status, say おつかれさん instead of お疲れ様. Similarly one might here ご苦労さん instead of ご苦労様. I've ...
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1answer
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Was desu and masu originally geisha-speak?

Nihonjin no Shiranai Nihongo (The Japanese language the Japanese people don't know) seems to be claiming, at around 6:20 of this YouTube clip of language-specific portions of episode 4 of the show, ...
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1answer
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Addressing strangers without knowing the name

How does one address a stranger in a casual conversation when name is unknown? For example, I had a conversation with an older Japanese lady and I wanted to compliment her on her English (but in ...
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1answer
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What is proper letter ending greeting for a letter to a teacher?

In Chinese letter writing there is a phrase "教祺" that can be roughly translated as "good luck in teaching" and is used exclusively in the letter ending greeting. Is there a counterpart in Japanese ...
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Concretely, on what scenarios should I say either お世話になっています or いつもお世話になっております?

Furthermore, what is its different in meaning between the both? When I was in training as a fresh graduate at a Japanese company, they told me to use いつもお世話になっております all the time and so I did. But ...
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2answers
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Masu te-form with Kudasai?

Can you use the -masu te form to form requests? Like, can you say "machimashite kudasai"? (O.o sounds weird huh.)
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How are twins addressed by their teacher at school?

If two twin brothers attended the same class, how would their teacher address each of them to indicate to whom they were speaking to, since they shared the same family name? Would one be seen as the ...
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1answer
245 views

こと (Must Do) Confusion

I often see こと used when listing rules: 冷蔵庫の物は勝手に食べないこと→ Don’t eat my things from the fridge トイレ掃除は毎日交代ですること→ Clean the bathroom every day by turns The above examples come from a written list of ...
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697 views

How many times should 「お」 and 「ご」 be used in a sentence?

In this Chiebukuro question about whether it should be ご心配無用 or 心配ご無用, one answerer says the following: 「ご」とか「お」で丁寧とか尊敬とかを表す場合、 一番最後のものにだけつけておけば 全体にかかると言われているようです。 たとえば 「住所氏名年齢職業を”お”書きのうえ」...
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1answer
551 views

When is it appropriate to use [v] ないでくれ instead of [v] な?

Initially I wanted to compare the rudeness level of [v]ないでくれ。 and[v]な。 but since that may be a rather vague question: In what situation is it appropriate to use [v]ないでくれ。 but not [v]な。 ? In what ...
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1answer
382 views

Is it OK to keep saying ありがとう

I was asking a Japanese person for some help and noticed that I kept saying ありがとうございます over and over as they helped me more. Culturally, is it OK to keep saying it multiple times in Japanese? Would it ...
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1answer
162 views

Is there a difference in (im)politeness between ~てくれ and ~て?

I understand that ~てください is the polite request form, and that both ~てくれ and simply using the ~て form are both more colloquial. I'm just not sure how they compare, my guess would be that ~てくれ is more ...
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598 views

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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4answers
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How can I say “I insist on paying” (for a free item) to a shopkeeper?

This is related to a question on the Interpersonal Skills site about refusing free goods from shopkeepers, etc., and paying for them instead. (Note: I'm not the OP of that question, I'm not blind or ...
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2answers
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How would you say “if you don't mind my asking”?

This is something that is often said in English to politely ask a question while avoiding sounding overly intrusive. For example, What do you do for a living, if you don't mind my asking? The way ...
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How do you say “I don't want to fail” in Japanese? The formal form of it?

I'm asking how do you say something like "I don't want to fail" in Japanese. Yes, in anime they say something like "makenai". But I want to say or write it like an actual Japanese sentence in the ...
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3answers
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How to say “no thank you, I don't want / need it”?

Sometimes I am offered something but because I'm just a beginner I don't know what verb they used. I know the proper way to say "no" is to answer with the negative form of the verb the other person ...
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2answers
277 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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For verbs with irregular humble/honorific forms, are the regular forms still used?

There are verbs with irregular humble forms, e.g. the humble form of 借りる is 拝借する. For these verbs, are the "normal humble conjugations" still used, or considered grammatical? Would お借りする be ...
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1answer
241 views

okay to use 男/女 as opposed to 男/女の人 to refer to yourself?

A friend of mine is practicing Japanese and created the sentence 私は女の人ではありません。私も男の人ではありません intending to say "I am not a woman, I am also not a man" I offered to improve the sentence as 私は男でも女でもありません, ...
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1answer
529 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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2answers
283 views

Does 私の名前はXYZです sound natural?

Consider the following sentence: [私]{わたし}の[名前]{なまえ}はライノーです。 watashi-no namae-wa rhino desu. Would a native speaker use this form, as opposed to ”[私]{わたし}はライノーです” or ”[名前]{なまえ}ライノーです”? An ...
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3answers
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Saying “you're welcome” at the workplace

There are a few ways to say "You're welcome". Which is the best for somebody in the workplace (inside and outside the team and of about the same level as myself) どういたしまして いいえ いえいえ others?
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1answer
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How do I respond to よろしくお願いします after being assigned a task at work?

My supervisor at work tells me よろしくお願いします after she gives me a task to do in the office. What is the appropriate way to respond? I've looked around on the internet but have been unsuccessful in ...
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2answers
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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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2answers
118 views

「許可が来ましたか?」の尊敬語

A社の社長 ↑ A社のプロジェクトマネージャー ↑ 私 ↑:許可を依頼する 私は作業を始める前、お客さん(A社)の許可を待っています。 A社のプロジェクトマネージャーが先週「社長に許可を依頼する」と言ってましたが、期日が近づいてますのでどうなったかを知りたいです。 つまり、「...
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1answer
291 views

Is 拝見いたしました an example of 二重敬語?

二重敬語 is presumably considered bad style (or simply incorrect). I hear/read 拝見いたしました all the time. Is it an example of 二重敬語? I understood 二重敬語 to be a little more complex than "used a polite form ...
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2answers
433 views

When do you use -san about a company?

I assume you don't -san about the company or organization that employs you, on the grounds it'd be akin to using it about your own family members. But when is it usually used? Is it merely when you'...

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