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How to say please in Japanese or sound polite

BSingh

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Someone asked this question on yahoo answers regarding the use of the word くださいfor please. The answer to the question was given by a Japanese person who said that it can sound rude. Here is the link: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090624173829AAqlh9Z
Here's what he said:
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If I have to translate English into Japanese, I will do as ninaballerina mentioned.
But, there isn't neither "ください" nor "お願いします" in Japanese dictionary.
In my dictionary, it is written as...
どうぞ、どうか、なにとぞ、すみませんが
Do you know why it is?
Japanese is quite different from English. Japanese doesn't have the same word for "please." You want to add something like "please" to your imperative sentence? But it won't be respectful because imperative is not regarded as respectful.
If you tell old Japanese people or executives that "それをしてください," he/she might get angry. He/she will regard you as arrogant.
I will use "そうしていただけますか?" or "そうしていただけませんか?" for "Please do it."
Our language has many ways to express respect/politeness. You should forget direct translation if you use it to real Japanese. If you want to express respectful feeling, you should use suggestion-like sentence.
Honestly, I was confused about it when I talked with young foreign people because they didn't know how to talk politely in Japanese way.
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My question is could you not say this: could you please to sound polite as well instead of 'そうしていただけますか?'?
Or is it still better to say it the way the Japanese person said?
Thank you
 
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lanthas

 
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The way in which you make a request to someone very much depends on your relationship to that person. Are they family, a friend, a colleague, your boss? Are they younger or older than you? Depending on those factors you use a completely different set of verbs, e.g. もらう <-> いただく.

Once your study source teaches you 尊敬語 (sonkeigo, honorific language) and 謙譲語 (kenjougo, humble language) you'll understand.
 

BSingh

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Thank you for the reply, it makes a lot of sense.
 

Toritoribe

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Just for confirmation, have you learned Japanese? くださいただけますか doesn't make sense at all, I'm afraid. (This sentence means "Could you give me Kudasa?")
 

Mike Cash

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What the guy said is right, but as a practical matter foreign learners need a "please" they can use right away and "kudasai" fits the bill.

I agree they certainly need further training later on about the distinctions he mentions.

Does he realize how few foreign youths these days say "please" (or "thank you") even in English?
 

BSingh

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Just for confirmation, have you learned Japanese? くださいただけますか doesn't make sense at all, I'm afraid. (This sentence means "Could you give me Kudasa?")
Yea I knew it was wrong but I just wanted to place ください in the sentence so that the readers have some idea of what I am trying to say. Sorry about that. To answer your question, I'm currently learning Japanese.
 
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Mike Cash

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If you haven't learned Japanese yet, then how are we to explain this to you in a meaningful way?
 

BSingh

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If you haven't learned Japanese yet, then how are we to explain this to you in a meaningful way?
I was looking up the word please in Japanese when I found the answer from the link provided but was confused when the Japanese person said its better not to say please. I had no way to ask him directly if he/she could explain it further so I thought I'd ask someone on here on this site. lanthas explained for me, so that's fine.

Thank you everyone for your answers.
 

Toritoribe

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The person in the site said that that's not the problem of whether using honorific/polite forms. In fact, してください is a polite form. He said that's the problem of the way of expression. していただけますか/いただけませんか is more close to "Could you~/ May I~?" in English, and therefore it's more appropriate for superiors/unknown people. That's what he wrote.
 
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