441 - をください

If I only had a couple of hours to give someone a crash course on travel Japanese, today's grammar point would definitely be among the topics that I would cover:

JLPT N5: ~をください

To request something, just say "SOMETHING をください."

That's it. You're done!

But for you budding language nerds out there, let's dive a bit deeper into this grammar point.

First, some examples...

これください
これ を ください。
(I'd like) this, please.
Literally: “this + を + please.”



それください
それ を ください。
(I'd like) that, please.
Literally: “that + を + please.”



あれください
あれ を ください。
(I'd like) that over there, please.
Literally: “that over there + を + please.”



If you don't know what これ, それ, and あれ mean, then you need to go back and read this lesson, yo: [NDL #328] - Basics: こ、そ、あ.


This may be obvious just from the sentences above, but ください more or less means "please."

As with most things we study, there's a little more to this word.

Technically speaking, ください is the command form of the verb くださる, which is a super-formal-sounding verb meaning something along the lines of "to confer [bestow] upon (me)."

Another way to explain the meaning of ください is that it is the honorific form of くれ. This makes sense, because くださる is the honorific form of くれる, meaning "to give (me)."

A word to the wise, though: Don't go saying things like それをくれ!as you will sound quite rude.

You don't really need to know any of this, by the way, and I doubt most books would even mention this stuff, but I spent years wondering what the story behind ください was. Now you know.

All you have to remember is this: ください means "please."


Here is a formal breakdown of this grammar point:

NOUN + + ください.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the "SOMETHING" in "SOMETHING をください" is a noun.

Here is a slightly more complex example:

すみませんが、子供用の椅子ください
すみません が、 こどもよう の いす を ください。
Excuse me, could we have a high chair, please?
Literally: “excuse me + が, + child-use + の + chair + を + please.”
Note: We could say that this が means "but," like we saw in this lesson, or we could say that it's a softener, like the が in this lesson. I'm sorry, but I can't decide which it is.


Ready to level up?

Well then, please tell me two unique things about the following sentences compared to what we've seen so far:

チーズバーガー2つください。それから、フライドポテト1つください
チーズバーガー を ふたつ ください。 それから、 フライドポテト も ひとつ ください。
Two cheeseburgers, please. And also, one order of french fries, please.
Literally: “cheeseburger + を + two (things) + please. + and then, + french fries (lit. fried potato) + も + one (thing) + please.”

The glaring difference here is that the second ください is not preceded by を, but も.

In most cases, you'll want to put を before ください, but it is possible to say も (~also) in place of を when listing one or more additional items that you would like to receive.

The second unique thing about our sentence above is that there are words between を (and も) and ください!

You'll find that it's OK to insert a word between を and ください when you want to specify something about the NOUN that you would like. So our alternative formation looks something like this:

NOUN + + SPECIFICATION + ください.

チーズバーガー2つください
チーズバーガー を ふたつ ください。
Two cheeseburgers, please.
Literally: “cheeseburger + を + two (things) + please.”

Here's one more example of this format in action:

すみません、鶏胸肉300グラムください
すみません、 とり むねにく を さんびゃく グラム ください。
Excuse me, could I have 300 grams of chicken breast meat, please?
Literally: “excuse me, + chicken + breast meat + を + 300 grams + please.”



Last but not least, note that the NOUN preceding を might not be an item.

Sometimes it will be a noun that expresses an action.

Here's an example:

明日起きたら連絡ください
あした おきたら れんらく を ください。
Please contact me when you get up tomorrow.
Literally: “tomorrow + when you get up + contacting / getting in touch + を + please.”

The word 連絡 (れんらく // contacting; getting in touch) is not a thing. It is an action that the speaker would like the listener to perform.

An easy way to tell if a noun expresses an action is to check if it's common to add する to it. Not coincidentally, we can say 連絡する (れんらくする // to contact).


That's all for this one.

Be sure to teach this grammar to your friends and family that are visiting Japan.


Bonus Sentences:

先生がクリスマスプレゼントをくださった。
せんせい が クリスマス プレゼント を くださった。
The [My] teacher gave me a present.
Literally: "teacher / sensei + が + Christmas present + を + gave (me) ([honorific])."

お姉ちゃんが可愛いノートをくれた。
おねえちゃん が かわいい ノート を くれた。
My (older) sister gave me a cute notebook.
Literally: "older sister + が + cute + notebook + を + gave (me)."

金をくれ。
かね を くれ。
Give me some money.
Literally: "money + を + give (me) (=[impolite command])."

準備終わったら連絡するね。
じゅんび おわったら れんらく する ね。
I'll call [contact] you once I'm ready, OK?
Literally: "preparations + if/when finished + contacting + do + ね."




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