456 - お~ください

This lesson is about:

JLPT N4: お~ください

I remember that when I first learned this grammar point, suddenly announcements all over Japan started making sense to me.

I thought, Oh, so that's what they're saying.

The reason for this is that お~ください, which is basically just a polite way of saying "please ~," is frequently used for announcements in public places like train stations.

It's language you hear every day in Japan, although it's not all that important that you be able to use it, really.

In retrospect, those days of my Japanese studies were really exciting. Every new grammar point unlocked some new aspect of the world around me. It was so exciting. At my current level, I just go back and forth between worrying that I'm not getting better and that I'm getting worse. ^^



An example:



戸籍謄本申請の方は、5番窓口に並びください
こせきとうほん しんせい の かた は、 ごばん まどぐち に おならびください。
If you are requesting a copy of your official family register, please line up at window number 5.
Literally: “official family register + application / request + の + person + は, + number 5 + ticket window + に + お line up + ください.”


No matter how you translate 戸籍謄本, it's going to sound weird. That's because these are documents unique to Japan (as far as I know). It's basically a sheet of paper saying who your family members are, your date of birth, who you're married to, etc. If you're ever applying for a spouse visa in Japan, you'll need one of these documents.

Anyways, let's talk about grammar.

We've seen in other lessons that a request can also be made like this:


5番窓口に並んでください
ごばん まどぐち に ならんで ください。
Please line up at window number 5.
Literally: “number 5 + ticket window + に + line up (and) + ください.”
Note: See this lesson if you don't know how to make requests like these.


So why does our example use お並びください instead of 並んでください?

Well, the person saying this is most likely making a public announcement to some people in the city office telling them where to go. As such, he or she opts to use the お~ください form of request.

In contrast, we would NOT use お~ください when asking someone to give up their seat on the train:


× すみません、足が痛いので席を譲りください
× すみません、 あし が いたい ので せき を おゆずりください。
× Excuse me, my feet hurt, so please give up your seat.
× Literally: “excuse me, + feet + が + painful / hurting + because (=ので) + seat + を + お handing over [yielding] + ください.”


We can't say that because お~ください is not used for personal requests.

In such cases, a simple ~てください is fine. Or ~てくださいませんか if you want to be really polite:


○ すみません、足が痛いので席を譲ってくださいませんか
○ すみません、 あし が いたい ので せき を ゆずってくださいませんか。
○ Excuse me, my feet hurt, so could you possibly let me have your seat, please?
Literally: “excuse me, + feet + が + painful / hurting + because (=ので) + seat + を + hand over [yield] (and) + くださいませんか.”


This sentence shouldn't scare you because we just looked at ~てくださいませんか in an N5 lesson.



We form these requests like this:


ます-stemください

So here are some verbs:

並ぶ(ならぶ // to line up; to stand in a line
下がる(さがる // to go down; to move down; to step back; to withdraw

(Note that for our example here, we'll be using the meaning of "to step back" or "to stand back" with 下がる, since it's often used for train station announcements.)

And their ます-forms are:

並びます(ならびます
下がります(さがります

Which means that their ます-stems are:

並び-(ならび-
下がり-(さがり-

Which means we can make public requests like this:

ます-stemください

並びください
おならびください
please line up

下がりください
おさがりください
please stand back



Here's an example of an announcement at a train station:



3番線に電車が参ります。危ないですから、黄色い線の内側に下がりください
さんばんせん に でんしゃ が まいります。 あぶないない です から、 きいろい せん の うちがわ に おさがりください。
The train is now arriving at platform three. For your safety, please move behind the yellow line.
Literally: “number three line + に + train + が + comes. + dangerous + です + because (=から), + yellow + line + の + inside + に + お go down + ください.”


Go to a train platform in Tokyo. You're sure to here an announcement very similar to this one every time a train is approaching.



As you're breezing through this lesson, maybe you're thinking it's easy peasy.

But did you know there is a second way to form these types of requests?

する NOUNください

What I mean by "する NOUN" is a noun that is capable of becoming a verb by adding する to it.

For example:

記入する
きにゅうする
to fill in (a form)
Literally: "entry / filling in + do."

So to make a polite, public request with this word, we can just say:

記入ください
ごきにゅうください
please fill in (a form)

Technically we use ご instead of お for these words because ご is the honorific prefix for words of Chinese origin, while お is the honorific prefix for words of Japanese origin.

This is why we can say お寿司 (おすし) for 寿司 (すし), but not ご寿司. (I hope you know what すし means, by the way.)

When I first learned this, it kind of stressed me out because I had no idea which words are of which origin. Luckily, I got by for years without ever really knowing the difference, and you can too. Or you can do fancy stuff like note that words with hiragana in them are probably of Japanese origin, that "する nouns" tend to be of Chinese origin, and so on.



Finally, another example:



こちらの書類は、すべてカタカナで記入ください
こちら の しょるい は、 すべて カタカナ で ごきにゅうください。
Please fill in this form using only katakana.
Literally: “this + の + document + は, + all + katakana + で + ご filling in + ください.”


Nice. You're done with the basics for this grammar point.

There's still some tricky stuff to talk about, though.



One exception to our rules above is the verb 来る (くる // to come), which becomes おいでください, "please come."


きのこ狩り大会には、動きやすい服装でおいでください
きのこがり たいかい に は、 うごきやすい ふくそう で おいでください。
Please come to the mushroom picking festival wearing clothes that are easy to move around in.
Literally: “mushroom picking + large meeting + には, + easy to move + attire + で + come (and) + ください.”


Though this lesson's grammar point is about making public requests, you can actually tell people (and animals), おいで, "come here" in very casual situations. We already saw this back in [NDL #244] - Don't be scary... err, I mean, scared.



Aside from 来る, we also cannot use お~ください with する or any verbs with only one character before る (like 見る [みる // to see; to look at] and 着る [きる // to wear], for example).

In most cases, just give up on using verbs with only one character before る.

Like 来る, though, 見る also has its own unique phrase.

Don't say:


× このグラフをお見ください。
× この グラフ を おみください。
× Please look at this graph.
× Literally: “this + graph + を + お + look + ください.”


Instead say:


○ このグラフをご覧ください
○ この グラフ を ごらんください。
○ Please look at this graph.
Literally: “this + graph + を + ご + look + ください.”


The phrase ご覧ください is extremely common, so I recommend memorizing it.

And once you have memorized it, you'll be done with NDL studies for a bit because that's the end of the lesson!




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