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Making Requests

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Politely (and not so politely) making requests

Similar to asking for favors, which we learned in the last lesson, there are also various ways to make requests in Japanese. This is effectively the Japanese way of saying, "please do X". We'll first learn the most common way to make requests using a special conjugation of the verb 「くださる」 and the firmer 「なさる」. Finally, we'll learn the rarely used excessively strong command form for the sake of completeness. You can safely skip the last part unless you're an avid reader of manga.

「~ください」- a special conjugation of 「くださる

ください」 is a special conjugation of 「くださる」, which is the honorific form of 「くれる」. We will learn more about honorific and humble forms in the beginning of the next major section. We are going over 「ください」 here because it has a slight difference in meaning from the normal 「くれる」 and the honorific 「くださる」. 「ください」 is different from 「くれる」 in the following fashion:

(1) それください。- Please give me that.
(2) それくれる?- Can you give me that?
As you can see 「ください」 is a direct request for something while 「くれる」 is used as a question asking for someone to give something. However, it is similar to 「くれる」 in that you can make a request for an action by simply attaching it to the te-form of the verb.
(1) 漢字書いてください。- Please write it in kanji.
(2) ゆっくり話してください。- Please speak slowly.

The rules for negative requests are same as the rules for 「くれる」 as well.
(1) 落書き書かないください。- Please don't write graffiti.
(2) こここないでください。- Please don't come here.

In casual speech, it is often common to simply drop the 「ください」 part.
日本語話して。- Please speak in Japanese.
消しゴム貸して。- Please lend me the eraser.
遠い行かない。- Please don't go to a far place.

For those who want to sound particularly commanding and manly, it is also possible to use 「くれる」 with the 「る」 removed.
日本語話してくれ。- Speak in Japanese.
消しゴム貸してくれ。- Lend me the eraser.
遠い行かないくれ。- Don't go to a far place.

Because 「ください」 like the masu-form must always come at the end sentence or a subordinate clause, you cannot use it to directly modify a noun. For example, the following is not possible with 「ください」.
(1) お父さんくれた時計壊れた。- The clock that father gave broke.

Of course, since direct quotes is merely repeating something someone said in verbatim, you can put practically anything in a direct quote.
(1) 「それくださいお父さん言った。- Father said, "Please give me that."

Using 「~ちょうだい」 as a casual request

A casual alternative of 「ください」 used usually by females is 「ちょうだい」. It is always written in hiragana. Written in kanji, it is usually used in a very formal expression such as 「頂戴致します」. There's not much more to say here because grammatically; it works the same way as 「ください」.


(1) スプーンちょうだい。- Please give me the spoon.
(2) ここ名前書いてちょうだい。- Please write your name here.

Using 「~なさい」 to make firm but polite requests

なさい」 is a special honorific conjugation of 「する」. It is a soft yet firm way of issuing a command. It is used, for example, when a mother is scolding her child or when a teacher wants a delinquent student to pay attention. Unlike 「ください」, 「なさい」 only applies to positive verbs and uses the stem of the verb instead of the te-form. It also cannot be used by itself but must be attached to another verb.
Using 「なさい」 to make firm but polite requests


(1) よく聞きなさい!- Listen well!
(2) ここ座りなさい。- Sit here.

You can also drop 「さい」 portion of the 「なさい」 to make a casual version of this grammar.
(1) まだいっぱいあるから、たくさん食べな。- There's still a lot, so eat a lot.
(2) それいい思うなら、そうよ。 - If you think that's fine, then go ahead and do it.

The Command Form

We will go over the command form in the interest of covering all the possible verb conjugations. In reality, the command form is rarely used as Japanese people tend to be too polite to use imperatives. Also, this coarse type of speech is rarely, if indeed at all, used by females who tend to use 「なさい」 or an exasperated 「くれる」 when angry or irritated. This form is only really useful for reading comic books or watching movies. You may often see or hear 「死ね!」 ("Die!") in movies or manga which, of course, you'll never hear in real life. (I hope!)

Be sure to note that, in addition to the familiar 「する」, 「くる」 exception verbs, 「くれる」 is also an exception for the command form.

Rules for creating command form

Sample ru-verbs
Sample u-verbs
PlainCommand ローマ字ローマ字 (Com)
Exception Verbs


(1) 好きしろ。- Do as you please.
(2) あっち行け!- Go away!
(3) 早く持ってきてくれ。- Hurry up and bring me some alcohol.

The negative command form is very simple: simply attach 「な」 to either ru-verbs or u-verbs. Don't confuse this with the 「な」 gobi we will be learning at the end of this section. The intonation is totally different.

Using the negative command form


(1) それ食べる!- Don't eat that!
(2) こと言う!- Don't say such weird things!

This is not to be confused with the shortened version of 「~なさい」 we just learned in the last section. The most obvious difference (besides the clear difference in tone) is that in 「~なさい」, the verb is first converted to the stem while the negative command has no conjugation. For example, for 「する」, 「しな」 would be the short version of 「しなさい」 while 「するな」 would be a negative command.

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This page has last been revised on 2005/9/21
Added くれ exception for command form. (2005/9/21)