:Home/Japanese Grammar/kudasai and and onegaishimasu mean “Please” (ください, おねがいします)

Kudasai and Onegaishimasu mean “Please” (ください, おねがいします)

Kudasai and Onegaishimasu are two ways we can say “Please” in Japanese.  I will cover them both in this Japanese grammar lesson, as well as the differences between them.

 

Saying “Please” with Kudasai (ください)

ください (kudasai) is a way to request a favor in Japanese.  It is similar to “Please” in English.  When we use ください (kudasai), it is placed after the te-form of the verb.  It can also can also come after a noun:

 

The Proper Form:
(te-form of a verb) + ください
(noun) +  ください
Examples: このかばんをてください

kono kaban o motte kudasai.

(Please carry this bag.)

 
kono kaban o motte kudasai.
 

もって (motte) is the te-form of the verb もらう (morau), so we should place it before kudasai.

そのかばんをください

sono kaban o kudasai.

(Can I have that bag, please?)

sono kaban o kudasai.
 

かばん (kaban) is a noun so we just connect it to kudasai with を.



How to find the te-form before adding it to ください (kudasai)

To find the te-form, we need a quick mini-lesson.  Verbs that end with いる (iru) or  える (eru) are called “Class 2 Verbs”.  With this type of verb, we only need to drop the る before adding (te): 

あけ

(akeru)

  あけ

(akete)

akeru akete

 

Easy, right?  All that’s left is to attach あけ (akete) to ください (kudasai).  This gives us あけてください, which means  “Please open.”  

There are also “Class 1 Verbs” which get modified a little differently.  To learn how to do that, I will need to refer to the full lesson (I’ll add a link here later). 

Would you like some extra practice with ください?  Watch the anime video below and repeat the lines as best you can.

 

Anime Practice with ください (kudasai)

 

This anime lesson is locked.  Get premium access!

Become a Patron!

 

Now that you know how to take the te-form of a verb and apply it to ください (kudasai) with the proper form, let’s take a look at the other way of saying please, onegaishimasu.  

Saying please with onegaishimasu (おねがいします)

Onegaishimasu (おねがいします) is another way to say “Please” in Japanese.  When we use onegaishimasu, we can only use it with a noun.  Here is the basic form:

Form: (noun) + おねがいします
Examples:
  そのかばんをおねがいします

sono kaban o onegaishimasu.

(Can I have that bag, please?)

sono kaban o onegaishimasu.
 

Onegaishimasu can also be used by itself too:

おねがいします

onegaishimasu.

(I have a favor to ask of you..)

onegaishimasu.

 Comparing ください (kudasai) to おねがいします (onegaishimasu)

If ください and おねがいします can both mean “please”, then are how are they different?  Although they can both be translated to “please”, there some important things to remember.

Onegaishimasu (おねがいします) is more passive and has a deep cultural meaning

Onegaishimasu is more passive than kudasai and has a deeper cultural use.  Using this word is a way to “lower” yourself to someone, similar to a bow.  In fact, they are often used together, such as with the case of martial arts, where it is common to say “onegaishimasu” as you bow before the fight.  Even on it’s own, it sets a very respectful tone in many situations.  It’s common to say 「Hajimemashite.  Onegaishimasu.」when first meeting someone.  If onegaishimasu is the “spoken bow”, so to speak, then kudasai is much more direct.

おねがいします

Onegaishimasu

Onegaishimasu

Only onegaishimasu is used for asking to speak to someone on the phone

けいこさんをおねがいします

Keiko-san o onegaishimasu.

(I would like to speak with Keiko, please.)

Keiko-san o onegaishimasu.

Kudasai and onegaishimasu can both be used to request a noun

水をください

Mizu o kudasai.

(Water, please.)

みずねがいします

Mizu o onegaishimasu.

(Water, please)

Mizu o kudasai. Mizu o onegaishimasu.

 

Only “kudasai” can be used to request a verb

koko ni tatte kudasai

 

CAUTION:  There are a few Japanese learning websites that claim “services should only be requested with onegaishimasu”.  Ask any native Japanese speaker and they will tell you that’s not right! Both of these following instructions are perfectly acceptable if you are talking to a Japanese taxi driver:

東京駅とうきょうまでおねがいします

Toukyou eki made, onegaishimasu.

(To Tokyo Station, please.)

Toukyou eki made, onegaishimasu

東京駅とうきょうまで、てください

Toukyou eki made, itte kudasai.

(Go to the Tokyo Station, please.)

Onegaishimasu can be used with a verb if we turn it into a noun

If you want to use a verb with “onegaishimasu”, there is one way.  You just need to turn the verb into a noun by adding の (no).  Changing a verb into a noun is called “verb nominalization” and you will come across this a lot in Japanese.  In English, it is similar to taking a verb like “arrive” and nominalizing it into “arrival”.  Arrival can then be defined as “the action of arriving“.  This modification has transformed an verb (action) into a noun (thing).

Let’s try this in Japanese now.. since that’s what you’re here to learn.  I will take the verb たべる (taberu, which means “to eat”), and change it into a noun by attaching の (no).   たべる (taberu) becomes たべるの (taberu no).  Since we are allowed to use nouns with “onegaishimasu”, then the following example is perfectly acceptable:

たべるのおねがいします

taberu no onegaishimasu.

(Eat it, please.)

taberu no onegaishimasu.

たべる (taberu no) becomes a noun, so it becomes compatible with “onegaishimasu”.  Remember, we can use our flexible friend, てください to ask the same question:

たべてください

tabete kudasai.

(Eat it, please.)

tabete kudasai.

Diving into verb nominalization for this lesson is a good way to show you an interesting feature of the Japanese language.  We can jump back and forth between verbs and nouns effortlessly.  As I showed you, switching between kudasai and onegaishimasu was as simple as changing a verb into a noun with the easy addition of の (no).  

 

The casual version of onegaishimasu is onegai

With informal (casual) speech, onegaishimasu (おねがいします) can be significantly shortened to onegai (おねがい).

このビデオゲームを買って、おねがい

kono bideo geemu o katte, onegai!

(Please buy this video game for me!)

kono bideo geemu o katte, onegai!

 

More Examples of ください (kudasai) and おねがいします (onegaishimasu)

 

明日あしたてください

Ashita kite kudasai.

(Please come tomorrow.)

 

 

 

Ashita kite kudasai.

 

お勘定をねがいします

okanjou o onegaishimasu

(May I have the check, please?)

 

 

 

okanjou o onegaishimasu

 

少々お待ちください

shoushou omachi kudasai.

(Please wait a moment.)

 

 

 

shoushou omachi kudasai.

 

よろしくおねがいします

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

(literally: Please be kind to me.)

 

 

 

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

 

どうぞ座ってください

douzo suwatte kudasai.

(Please go ahead and sit down.)

 

 

 

 

douzo suwatte kudasai.

 

ゆっくり言ってください

yukkuri itte kudasai.

(Please say it more slowly.)

 

 

 

yukkuri itte kudasai.

 

よやくをおねがいします

yoyaku o onegaishimasu

(I would like to make an appointment, please.)

 

 

 

yoyaku o onegaishimasu

 

ひとつだけ、ください

hitotsu dake, kudasai.

(Just one, please.)

 

 

 

hitotsu dake, kudasai.

 

きゅうきゅうしゃをおねがいします

kyuukyuusha o onegaishimasu

(Please send me an ambulance.)

 

 

 

kyuukyuusha o onegaishimasu

ピザを にまい、ください

piza o nimai kudasai.

(Two slices of pizza, please.)

 

piza o nimai kudasai.

 

べんごしをおねがいします

bengoshi o onegaishimasu

(May I have a lawyer, please.)

 

bengoshi o onegaishimasu
 

あかかばんください

akai kaban o kudasai.

(The red bag, please.)

 

 

 

akai kaban o kudasai.

 

メニューをおねがいします

Menyu o onegaishimasu

(May I have a menu, please?)

 

 

 

Menyu o onegaishimasu

 

日本語にほんごおしてください

nihongo o oshiete kudasai.

(Please teach me Japanese.)

 

 

 

nihongo o oshiete kudasai.

Add me to Skype.  We can practice ください and おねがいします in real conversation!  Book a lesson with me now:
After doing something: TE KARA
Japanese Grammar  Particle DE Japanese Grammar Index ARIMASU and IMASU