385 - てください

JLPT N5: ~てください (please ~)

If you are an ardent student and have followed this newsletter for a while, then you will have come across this piece of grammar a few times now. That is to say, there is no way around it.

What I mean is the expression ください after a verb in て-form.

In kanji ください is 下さい, though it's often written in kana only.


Te-form-VERB + ください = Please VERB

Here are the verbs we'll see in this lesson:

教える(おしえる // to teach
聞く(きく // to ask; to listen
来る(くる // to come
呼ぶ(よぶ // to call
置く(おく // to place; to set down
言う(いう // to say
する(to do
吸う(すう // to inhale

Now let's put those in te-form:

教えて(おしえて
聞いて(きいて
来て(きて
呼んで(よんで
置いて(おいて
言って(いって
して(して
吸って(すって

Now to make polite requests, we just add ください to the end:

教えてくださいおしえてください // please teach
聞いてくださいきいてください // please ask; please listen
来てくださいきてください // please come
呼んでくださいよんでください // please call
置いてくださいおいてください // please set down
言ってくださいいってください // please say
してくださいしてください // please do
吸ってくださいすってください // please inhale

If you're not sure how to conjugate verbs into te-form, you may need to consult a grammar guide... or wait for a Basics lesson on this. There are always tools like this one which will conjugate verbs for you.

Note that we can also attach ください to the negative forms of verbs when we want to say "please don't VERB."

So let's put our verbs into negative te-form (Hint: It's just negative plain form plus で):

教えないで(おしえないで
聞かないで(きかないで
来ないで(こないで
呼ばないで(よばないで
置かないで(おかないで
言わないで(いわないで
しないで(しないで
吸わないで(すわないで

And once more, we add ください to form our polite requests:

教えないでくださいおしえないでください // please don't teach
聞かないでくださいきかないでください // please don't ask; please don't listen
来ないでくださいこないでください // please don't come
呼ばないでくださいよばないでください // please don't call
置かないでくださいおかないでください // please don't set down
言わないでくださいいわないでください // please don't say
しないでくださいしないでください // please don't do
吸わないでくださいすわないでください // please don't inhale


ください is the equivalent to the English "please". This is relatively formal and pretty much the standard way to make a request. There are some other forms of making request which we will learn in later lessons.

But it's not only about requesting. As in English, you can also make some polite commands with it. Like those times your boss gives you extra work, saying "please look over this for me". You know he is not just asking you--it's got to be done and there is no way out.

But I'm not questioning whether you would help others out even without an obligation to do so. You probably are a great person. So here's some Japanese, just for you.


先生、この漢字の読み方を教えてください
せんせい、 この かんじ の よみかた を おしえてください。
(Sensei,) Can you tell me the reading of this kanji, please?
Literally: "Teacher + this + kanji + の + way of reading + を + please teach/tell (me)"
Note: 先生 is a very universal word. It can be used for teachers in any kind of environment, highly educated people, people performing a highly esteemed profession like doctors, or even for people whose insight you value. The word 先生 is often used to address one of these people directly.

So you see, first we form the て-form of the verb 教える (おしえる).

Because it's a Group 2 verb, you only have to drop the final る and add て.

To that you add ください and call it a day.

教える
→ 教えて
→ → 教えてください

If you still have difficulties with this conjugation, I recommend to review it once again. It will appear very often in this lesson.


なにか質問はありますか?遠慮しないで、なんでも聞いてください
なにか しつもん は あります か? えんりょ しないで、 なんでも きいてください。
Do you have any questions? Please don't hesitate to ask anything you want.
Literally: "something + question + は + have + か + don't hesitate (=reserve + don't do [and]), + anything + please ask"

You might hear this if you ever get to Japan and stay with some nice people. It's a very friendly and considerate remark.


グエンさん、授業が終わったら職員室に来てください
グエンさん、 じゅぎょう が おわったら しょくいんしつ に きてください。
Gwen-san, please come to the faculty room after the class is over.
Literally: "Gwen-san + lesson + が + when it's finished + faculty room + に + please come"

In contrast, this might not be as much of a choice on your side. In this case it's a firm, though polite, demand to be followed.


マシュー・ティンバーレイクです。マットと呼んでください
マシュー・ティンバーレイク です。 マット と よんでください。
I'm Matthew Timberlake. Please call me Matt.
Literally: "Matthew Timberlake + です. + Matt + と + please call (me)"

As we see here, this grammar point can be used when introducing yourself to other people.


火のそばに置かないでください
ひ の そば に おかないでください。
Please do not put this near fire.
Literally: "fire + の + vicinity + に + please don't put"
Note: This could be a warning on a product's packaging.



このことはまだ誰にも言わないでください
この こと は まだ だれにも いわないでください。
Please don't tell anybody about this yet.
Literally: "this + thing / matter + は + still + anybody + please don't tell"

Here we see a useful sentence for everyday speech.


うまくいかなくても、がっかりしないでくださいね。初めはみんなそうですから。
うまく いかなくても、 がっかり しないでください ね。 はじめ は みんな そう です から。
Even if it doesn't go well, please do not feel down. It's difficult for everyone at first.
Literally: "well + even if it doesn't go + disappointed / let down + please don't do (be) + ね. + at the beginning + は + everyone + that way + です + から"

Here we see it as a means of encouragement.


車内ではたばこを吸わないでください
しゃない で は たばこ を すわないでください。
Please do not smoke inside the train.
Literally: "inside (car/train/etc) + で + は + cigarette + を + please don't smoke [inhale]"

In short, it's omnipresent in every part of Japanese.


I hope this got you a feel on the wide range of usage for this form.

Just as a little annotation: It's also possible to add ください directly after a noun in extremely polite forms, like:

ご注意ください。
ごちゅうい ください
Please be careful. // Please watch out.
Literally: "caution / care + please."

This usage of ください will show up later in our studies. However, it's worth mentioning now since you will come across its usage all the time in Japan.


This lesson was written by Dennis, a guest contributor:





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