48 - Could I possibly conjugate that verb for you?

Let's say that you bought me some delicious せんべい (senbei; rice crackers [sometimes written in scary kanji form: 煎餅]).

For some reason, you're obsessed with these tasty rice crackers, and you really, really, really want me to eat one.

Then I'm like, Nah, I don't feel like it.

So now you need to suggest a bit more strongly that I eat one.

What do you say?

If you spend like 2 years studying Japanese in college, you will gradually be taught all kinds of ways to make this request...

Which I think is dumb.

Why spread out the learning of similar phrases that offer huge variations in nuance?

If we learn all of the requests together, we can distinguish their nuances, express ourselves more freely, and tame dragons.

(Note: These are written, more or less, in descending order of politeness. So the one at the bottom is the least polite. Also, I've added a few that they'll probably never teach you in school.)

01 食べていただけませんか
02 食べてもらえませんか
03 食べてくれませんか
04 食べてください
05 食べてくれない?
06 食べてくれる?
07 食べてくれ
08 食べて
09 食べな
10 食べてよ
11 食べなよ
12 食べなさい
13 食べろ
14 食え

Now we can make those characters all ugly by putting romaji next to them:

01 食べていただけませんか (tabete itadakemasen ka)
02 食べてもらえませんか (tabete moraemasen ka)
03 食べてくれませんか (tabete kuremasen ka)
04 食べてください (tabete kudasai)
05 食べてくれない? (tabete kurenai?)
06 食べてくれる? (tabete kureru?)
07 食べてくれ (tabete kure)
08 食べて (tabete)
09 食べな (tabena)
10 食べてよ (tabete yo)
11 食べなよ (tabena yo)
12 食べなさい (tabenasai)
13 食べろ (tabero)
14 食え (kue)

Oh and here are some rough English equivalents:

(Note: I'm putting "it" in the English, so imagine that you're holding out a rice cracker and telling me to eat "it [=rice cracker].")

(Note #2: Some of these English sentences will sound strange... because there are only so many natural ways you can ask someone to eat a rice cracker, you know? Sorry.)

(Note #3: I've also put "try" instead of "eat" in many cases, as to me it feels a little softer [i.e. less rude]. Ideally, we'd just forget the English and go 100% Japanese, yo.)

01 食べていただけませんか (Could I possibly get you to try it for me?)
02 食べてもらえませんか (Could I get you to try it for me?)
03 食べてくれませんか (Would you try it for me?)
04 食べてください (Please try it.)
05 食べてくれない? (Will you try it for me?)
06 食べてくれる? (Will you try it?)
07 食べてくれ (Try it, will you?)
08 食べて (Try it.)
09 食べな (Try it.)
10 食べてよ (Come on, try it!)
11 食べなよ (Come on, try it!)
12 食べなさい (Eat it.)
13 食べろ (Eat it [or else].)
14 食え (Eat it!)


Te-Form, Masu-Stems, and Imperatives

That might seem like an intimidating list at first.

But if you look closely, over 90% of those requests are built on te-form verbs (#1-8 and 10 are all just "te-form + word.")

We also have 3 built on Masu-stems (#9, 11, and 12 are "masu-stem + [a few characters]").

And 2 using imperatives (#13-14).

Long story short, if you learn how to conjugate every type of verb 3 ways, you can form all of these sentences.

I made a sweet google doc that breaks down te-form and masu-stem conjugations.

★★★ You can access it HERE! ★★★

So, using that, you should be able to make ALL of these phrases (except #13 & 14), for ANY VERB in Japanese.

I'm going to end this lesson here.

Since it's a bit shorter, maybe it's a good chance to look at that list of request formulas, then try making requests at varying levels of politeness, yeah?

If I make all of your sentences for you, you're not really gonna be able to speak, will you?


One Last Thing

For the senbei, assuming you and I are really good friends, I would use:

食べなよ
tabe na yo.
Just try it!

Note that the な is intoned kind of strongly here (get a native speaker to say it for you, if you can).

Anyways, Rei uses this type of request format when telling me to do things. It's not a "command from above," like 食べなさい (tabenasai) feels. But it is kind of like a "friendly command."

They never taught it to me in school <(ToT)>


Bonus Sentences

せんべい食べたい。
せんべい たべたい。
I feel like eating senbei. // I want to eat senbei.

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