Hi there. The number of people infected with the coronavirus is decreasing in Japan now, and we are gradually getting back to normal lives. However, there still is a fear that the virus may recur again, so it seems that we have to stay/work home for a little longer…
This time, I have compiled a list of eleven Japanese expressions that are often used when making requests. When using Japanese, it is important to learn how to phrase things in a way that is considerate of the others.
So, when making a request, don’t directly say, “Do it for me”. When making a request, it is normal to add preface words before making the request with something like, “I’m sorry to bother, but could you -?”
Let’s learn how to request in Japanese, and practice so that you can communicate naturally!
Before learning them… regarding request expressions
When making a request to someone who is close to you, or to someone who does not require much consideration,
「～て」（～te）is used at the end.
（Pasokon no tsukaikata wo oshie te)
Teach me how to use the computer.
When giving instructions or making a request to a colleague or subordinate at work,
「～てください」（~te kudasai) is used at the end.
（Pasokon no tsukaikata wo oshie te kudasai)
Please teach me how to use the computer.
If you want to be polite to your boss or other people「～てくださいませんか」”~te kudasai masenka” is used at the end.
（Pasokon no tsukaikata wo oshie te kudasai masenka)
Would you please teach me how to use the computer?
11 Preface words often used when making a request
3 casual expressions
I have a favor to ask you,
*Gomen is also used to apologize and Anone is also used when explaining something.
(Waruindakedo, Pasokon no tsukaikata wo oshiete)
Sorry, but can you teach me how to use the computer?
8 polite expressions
Sorry to trouble you,
I’m really sorry, but
9.ご迷惑かとは存じますが、(Gomeiwaku katowa zonzimasuga)
I know it might be annoying,
I’m sorry to bother you,
11.ご都合の良い時で構いませんが、(Gotsugouno yoitokide kamaimasenga)
I’d appreciate it if you could help this when you are free,
(Sumimasenga, Pasokon no tsukaikata wo oshie te kudasai)
I’m sorry to bother, but please teach me how to use the computer.
There are many other expressions that can be used, but if you know the phrases listed here, you will have no problem carrying on/understanding conversations. If you like watching anime/comics, I recommend that you check how the characters change the way they request according to the situation/based on whom they are requesting to. On a side note, in many Asian countries including Japan, people often put hands together to express gratitude, but in Japan this is also done when making a request.
Enjoy learning Japanese!