Japanese Grammar Bank


Making requests in Japanese is as important as learning how to ask questions!

This is a sentence structure you’ll hear plenty of times in your Japanese studies, so make sure to bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you need a quick review.


ください kudasai

To form a sentence asking someone to do something, we will use the verb in て form of the action we want them to do.

You will then see some examples of the verb くれる under various forms. When talking to people of our same social status or below, we will generally use ください. 


Verb て form + ください

tabete kudasai


Please eat

Below are a few conjugations of the verb “to give” (to the speaker):

Plain form くれる kureru
Imperative (command) form くれ kure
Honorific form 下さる kudasaru
Honorific-polite form 下さいます kudasaimasu
Honorific-imperative (command) form 下さい kudasai

As you can see, 下さい is essentially the polite command form of the verb くれる. This is why we use it to people of equal or lower standing to ourselves. It may be polite, but sometimes it can sound more of a command than a request!


If we wanted to sound more commanding, and less polite, we could choose to use the command form of くれる (kureru), which is simply くれ (kure).

kiite kure


Listen to me

Since ください (kudaisai) and くれる (kureru) already mean “give to me”, we don’t need to add another verb when asking for someone to give an object to us. 

ocha wo kudasai


Give me the tea please

We don’t need to say くれてください because that would be redundant.

This construction can also be used interchangeably with お願いします(おねがいします, onegaishimasu) when asking for a tangible thing. This is a little more formal, while ください for an object is more casual.

ocha onegaishimasu


I would like the tea please


How about saying, “Please don’t~”? We will use verb in its negative form:


(ない form) + でください

Furthermore, we can omit the ください and just say ないで as a more casual option

tabako wo suwanaide kudasai


Please do not smoke tobacco
tabako wo suwanaide


Don’t smoke tobacco

REVIEW || Here’s a free grammar lesson about the Japanese negative form.


As we make requests to people higher and higher up, like our senpais and bosses, we will want to make us of the verb もらう (morau).

Here are some useful conjugations for the verb もらう, to receive. 

Plain form もらう morau
Potential plain form もらえる moraeru
Humble plain form いただく itadaku
Humble polite form いただきます itadakimasu
Humble potential polite form いただけます itadakemasu

And here are some examples:

教えてもらえますかoshiete moraemasu kaCan you teach me? 
(literally: can I receive your teaching?)
教えていただけませんかoshiete itadake masenkaWould you be able to teach me?  
(literally: can I humbly receive your teaching?)

Think of these different forms as having differing levels of politeness. In the above example, the second sentence is more polite than the first, even though they mean essentially the same thing.

The less polite forms are often shortened, and are mainly used between close friends or when talking to people of a lower status.

Politeness refers to ways of phrasing things when speaking to strangers and higher-ups, like using humble or honorific language.

Here are a few general tips to understanding how changes in form affect levels of politeness:

  • When requesting, asking is softer than telling.
  • てくれませんか is more polite than てくれ
  • Asking to receive is softer than asking for someone to give
  • てもらえますか is more polite than てくれませんか
  • Asking in the negative is softer than asking in the affirmative
  • てもらえませんか is more polite than てもらえますか

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How to make a request in Japanese?

To form a sentence asking someone to do something, we will use the verb in て form of the action we want them to do.

The basic structure is:

Verb て form + ください

ください (kudasai) could be translated by “please give me”.

How to say “Please don’t…” in Japanese?

 To say “please don’t” we will use verb in its negative form:

(ない form) + でください

We can omit the ください and just say ないで as a more casual option.


タバコを吸わないでください (tabako wo suwanaide kudasai) | Please do not smoke tobacco

タバコを吸わないで (tabako wo suwanaide) | Don’t smoke tobacco

What are honorifics in Japanese?

Honorifics can be described as multiple levels of politeness or respectfulness. It is used in the Japanese, Korean and Javanese languages.

In Japanese there are three levels of honorifics:

Polite language (丁寧語, teineigo);

Respectful language (尊敬語, sonkeigo);

Humble language (謙譲語, kenjōgo, or “modest language”)

Some sentence examples of making requests?

食べて下さい (tabete kudasai) | Please eat

お茶を下さい (ocha wo kudasai) | Please give me the tea

How to improve my Japanese speaking skills?

To improve your Japanese speaking skills we strongly recommend speaking with a native speaker, be it a friend or a teacher. This way, you can get instant feedback on your pronunciation and improve your listening skills as well.

You can also use our LTL Japanese Pronunciation Tool. Speak in your microphone and the software will let you know what you need to improve.

This tool works in pair with our Flexi Classes, and every sentences you practice can be found in our Japanese online lessons.

Are Kanji and Chinese characters the same?

Japanese Kanji indeed come from Chinese characters.

Be careful though!

Not only do they not have the same pronunciation, they can also hold different meanings.

Visit this article we wrote about Kanji and Hanzi you shouldn’t confuse!