I want to know how to say “please” in Japanese when asking someone for a favour or to do something.
Answer by Japanese teacher
Would you do me a favour?
There are two ways of saying “please” in Japanese, onegaishimasu and kudasai. Both expressions are used at the end of the sentence, after you say the request.
In (1), the word 願(ねが)い negai means “a favour”, with the whole expression meaning “would you do me a favour?” You can use this expression to for example, request for a cup of coffee “コーヒーをお願(ねが)いします koohii o onegaishimasu” or to ask a taxi driver to go to a destination such as Shinjuku Hotel “新宿(しんじゅく)ホテルまでお願(ねが)いします Shinjuku Hoteru made onegaishimasu”.
(2) is used when you ask someone to perform an action. It is not quite the same as asking someone for a favour in (1).
Some examples are:
[list class=”li-niku li-mainbdr main-c-before”]
- Please sit down. 座(すわ)ってください suwatte kudasai
- Please look here. ここを見(み)てください koko o mite kudasai
- Please listen to what I’m going to say. 聞(き)いてください kiite kudasai
When using (2), you have to change the verb to te-form and then add “kudasai” right after it.
Choose the right “please” to use according to your situation.