How to ask for a favor / make a request



= Chotto, senaka no totoro totte moraeru?

= Hey, can you remove the Totoro from my back?

Hi everyone!

Today our guest teacher is the lovely, Rascal.

She will teach you how to ask for a favor or make a request in Japanese.

Rascal先生、よろしく! :maggie-small: 

= Rascal sensei, yoroshiku!

= Thank you, Rascal Sensei!


= Konnichi wa, hajimemashite! Rascal desu.

= Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Rascal.


=  Senaka ga omoi keredomo ganbarimasu.

=My back is heavy,  but I will do my best.

So I will teach you all the forms that you can use when you ask a favor or make a request.

★How to form:

Here is the basic format.


1) Regardless of the formality level, there is a difference between these two forms.

V ( = te)  くれる  ( = kureru) ?

Can you do me a favor by doing something? / Will you do something for me?

V ( = te)  もらえる ( = moraeru)?

Can I receive a favor of your doing something? / Can you do something?

Note: You may not see the difference in English translations.

2) the negative version is more polite than the affirmative version.

Ex. V ( = te)  もらえませんか ?( = moraemasen ka?) is more polite than 

V ( = te)  もらえますか?( = moraemasu ka)?Ex. V ( = te)  くれませんか?( = kuremasen ka?) is more polite than V ( = te)  くれますか?( = kuremasuka)?

3) Vたいんですが (= tain desu ga) is used to show your desire in a subtle way.

 :rrrr: I’d like you to do something

It is more polite than the question form.  ~ か(= ka)?

Ex. V ( = te)  もらいたいんですが ( = moraitain desu ga) is more polite than V ( = te)  + もらえますか? ( = moraemasu ka)

Ex.V ( = te) いただきたいんですが ( = itadakitain desuga)  is more polite than V ( = te)  + いただけますか? ( = itadakemasu ka?)

Note: You can’t make this form with くれる ( = kureru) form.

4) When you request not to do something, you use

Vないで (= naide)

Ex. ホワイトボードは消さないでくれますか

= Howaito boodo wa kesanaide kuremasu ka?

= Can you not erase the whiteboard, please?

Ex. 押さないでもらえる

= Osanai de moraeru?

= Can you not push me? (Please do not push me.)

★Which form to use in the chart.

 :purple:  A: very polite

When you are talking to someone superior, customers, clients or your boss.

Ex. 会員証を見せていただけますか

= Kaiinshou wo misete itadakemasu ka?

= Could you show me your membership card?

Ex. こちらでお待ちいただけますか

= Kochira de omachi itadakemasen ka?

= Could you wait here, please?

 :mm: B: polite

When you talk to strangers, shop attendants, people you don’t know well, coworkers if they are not so close, etc.

Ex. どうぞ、お入りください

= Douzo, ohairi kudasai.

= Please come in.

Ex. この商品を交換してもらえますか

= Kono shouhin wo koukan shite moraemasu ka?

= Can I exchange this product?

 :w: C: casual

Between friends, family, someone who you know very well, / someone younger /close coworkers / subordinates.

Ex. 駅まで送ってくれる

= Eki made okutte kureru?

= Can you take me to the station?

Ex. 千円貸してくれない

= Sen en kashite kurenai?

= Can you lend me 1,000 yen?

 :n: D: male speech/ rough

When you talk to someone you consider to be obviously inferior to you.

Ex. いい加減にしてくれ

= Ii kagen ni shite kure.

= Give me a break! / That’s enough!

★ Asking  a favor:

I know I am a cat but let’s say I want someone to take me out for a walk.

* 私を散歩に連れて行く

= Watashi wo sanpo ni tsurete iku

= to take me out for a walk.

First you make a te-form of 行く( = iku)

:rrrr:  行って ( = itte)

You may not be able to tell the difference by reading the translation, but I will show you how I should ask when changing the formality levels.


Talking to my close friends/ between family / someone inferior (like a dog)

* 散歩に連れて行っ

= Sanpo ni tsurete itte.

= Take me out for a walk.

(This sounds a bit demanding.)

 :u:  (more polite) Giving the listener’s feelings more consideration.


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kureru?

= Can you take me out for a walk?

 :u:  (more polite)

* 散歩に連れていってもらえる

= Sanpo ni tsurete itte moraeru?

= Can you take me out for a walk?

:u: (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kurenai?

= Won’t you take me out for a walk (if you can)?

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte moraenai?

= Won’t you do me the favor of taking me out for a walk (if you can)?

Now if I ask someone that I don’t know so much such as my neighbors…


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kudasai.

= Please take me out for a walk.

 :u:  (more polite) Concerning the listener’s feelings more.


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kuremasuka?

= Would you take me out for a walk?

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte moraemasu ka?

= Could you take me out for a walk?

 :u: (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kuremasen ka?

= Would you take me out for a walk if you can?

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte moraemasen ka?

= Could you take me out for a walk?

 :u: (more polite)

* 散歩に連れていってもらいたいんですが

= Sanpo ni tsurete itte moraitain desuga.

= I’d like you to take me out for a walk.

When you talk to someone superior, like Yukari or queen.

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte kudasaimasen ka?

= Would you take me out for a walk, please?

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurete itte itadakemasen ka?

= Could you take me out for a walk, please?

 :u:  (more polite)


= Sanpo ni tsurte itte itadakitan desu ga.

= I’d like you to take me out for a walk (if you can.)


Recently one of you asked me which form he should use at a convenience store.

He has been using the most polite form A:

Ex. これを温めていただけますか

= Kore wo atatamete itadakemasu ka?

= Could you heat this up?

but his friend told him it was too formal.

There is no correct answer. There are people who would talk to a shop clerk with that form.

But I would use the form B.

Ex. 温めてください

= Atatamete kudasai.

= Please heat this up.

Ex. 温めてくれますか

= Atatamete kuremasuka?

= Can you heat this up for me?

Ex. 温めてもらえますか

= Atatamete moraemasu ka?

= Can you heat this up for me?


When you talk to someone superior, you should watch your language.

Ex. A: 「マギー先生、この作文、添削し。」

= Maggie sensei, kono sakubun, tensaku shite.

= Hey, Maggie. Correct this composition.

Maggie: 「よく聞こえません。」!ase!

= Yoku kikoemasen.

= I can’t hear (you) well.


= Kono sakubun tensaku shite kureru?

= Can you proofread my composition?

Maggie: 「最近、耳が遠くて…」:-?

= Saikin, mimi ga tookute…

= I have been having a hearing problem.

A: 「マギー先生、この作文を添削してもらえますか?」

= Maggie sensei, kono sakubun wo tensaku shite moraemasu ka?

= Maggie Sensei, can you proofread this composition please?

Maggie: 「その作文がどうかしましたか?」  :roll: 

= Sono sakubun ga douka shimashita ka?

= What’s with that composition again?


= Sensei, kono sakubun wo tensaku shite itadakitain desuga.

= Sensei, I’d like you to proofread this composition if you can.

Maggie: 「はい、いいですよ。」!JYANE!

= Hai, ii desu yo.

= OK, I will.

From Maggie: I am just kidding. You can talk to me casually. :)

Ex. 暑いので窓を開けてもらえませんか

= Atsui node mado wo akete moraemasen ka?

= I am hot so can you open the windows please?

Ex. 自分でやってくれる(casual)

= Jibun de yatte kureru?

= Will you do that yourself?

Ex. 2時までにこちらに戻ってきていただけますか (formal)

=Niji made kochira ni modotte kite itadakemasu ka?

= Could you be back by two, please?

Ex. あと1日待ってもらえる (casual)

= Ato ichinichi matte moraeru?

= Can you wait one more day?

Ex. ちょっと詰め(casual)

= Chotto tsumete.

= Scoot over.

(At a beauty salon)

Ex. あと、1cm切ってもらえますか

= Ato issenchi kitte moraemasu ka?

= Can you cut 1cm more?

(At a massage parlor)

Ex. もっと強く押してくれますか

= Motto tsuyoku oshite kuremasu ka?

= Can you press a little harder?

Ex. 明日までにレッスンを3つ作ってくれない (casual)

= Ashita made ni ressun wo mittsu tsukutte kurenai?

= Can you make three more lessons by tomorrow?

Ex. ちょっと待ってくれ(male/ rough)

= Chotto matte kure!

= Wait up! / Gimme a break! / Just a minute!

Sometimes you add suffix, ( = yo) ,   ( = ne)  or かな(=kana?) in casual conversation.

Ex. かわいい女の子紹介し

= Kawaii onnanoko shoukai shiteyo.

= Introduce me to a cute girl, OK?

Ex. ちゃんと掃除し

= Chanto souji shitene.

= Clean properly, OK?

Ex. ちょっと、見せてくれるかな

= Chotto, misete kureru kana?

= Can you show me a little?

*When you ask for a favor, you may want to add some phrase that shows your concerns about the listener.

* 恐れいりますが  (polite/formal)

= Osore irimasu ga

= I am sorry to trouble you, but…

* 申し訳ありませんが (polite)

= Moushiwake arimasenga

= I am sorry to trouble you but…

 :u: (more casual)

* 申し訳ないけど

= Moushiwake nai kedo

= I am sorry but

* 申し訳ないんだけど

= Moushiwake nain dakedo

* 悪いけど

= Warui kedo


= Waruin dakedo

Ex. 悪いんだけど帰りに卵を買ってきてもらえない (casual)

= Waruin dakedo kaeri ni tamago wo katte kite moraenai?

= I am sorry, but can you  buy me some eggs on the way back home ?


* お忙しいところ申し訳ありませんが  (polite)

= Oisogashii tokoro moushiwake arimasen ga

= I am sorry to ask you when you are so busy


* 忙しいところ、悪いんだけど

= Isogashii tokoro, waruin dakedo

Ex. 忙しいところ、悪いんだけどコピーをとってくれる(casual)

= Isogashii tokoro, waruin dakedo kopii wo totte kureru?

= I am sorry to ask you when you are busy but can you make a copy for me?

*ちょっと ( = chotto)

The literal meaning of ちょっと ( = chotto) is “a little” but it functions to make your request softer.

Ex. ちょっと買い物に行ってき (casual)

= Chotto kaimono ni itte kite.

= Can you go shopping?

★You use these forms to tell someone what to do/ what not to do/complain

Ex. ここでタバコを吸わないでいただけますか

= Koko de tabako wo suwanai de itadakemasu ka?

= Could you not smoke here, please?

Ex. ちょっと黙っていてくれない

= Chotto damatte ite kurenai?

= Can you keep your mouth shut?

Ex. 私のこと、ほっといてもらえる

= Watashi no koto, hottoite moraeru?

= Can you leave me alone?

(Note: ほっといて( = hottoite) is a casual contraction of ほっておいて ( = hotte oite))

★ Other ways to ask for a favor or make a request

When you want someone to do something

*V (= te) ほしいのですが ( = hoshii no desu ga)

( more casual)

* V (= te) ほしいんだけど (= hoshiin dakedo)

Ex. 席を替わってほしいんですが

= Seki wo kawatte hoshiin desuga.

= I’d like you to change the seat if you can…

:u:(more casual)


= Seki wo kawatte hoshiin dakedo.

★When you want something you can just replace V( = te) with a noun.

Ex. レジ袋をもらえますか

= Rejibukuro wo moraemasu ka?

= Can I have a plastic bag?

Ex. 細かいお金をください

= Komakai okane wo kudasai.

= Please give me small change.


maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Rascal sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Rascal Sensei.


= Mata koko ni kite oshiete moraeru kana?

= I wonder if you can come back here and teach.


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  1. Hello Maggie-sensei ^^
    I’d like to ask, how would you rate the politeness between (for example) やめないか vs. やめて? Or are they used in different contexts? Thank you!

    1. Hello Ai

      やめないか has two meanings.
      1) Stop it! (Command form. Telling someone to stop in a strong way expressing one’s angry feelings.): Male speech/pretty rough
      Compare to やめて, it sounds much stronger.
      2) Why don’t we stop? : Male speech/rough

      So て is much more polite than やめないか.

      1. I see, I was under the impression that ~ないか was softer but I wasn’t sure, glad that I decided to ask. Thank you for the answer! ^^

  2. I’m so, so thankful for this! Your detailed explanation about the levels of politieness and giving context is a lifesaver. I think this is the best post on the internet about this subject. Thank you again!

    1. こんばんは!

      〜たい: The speaker wants to do something
      Ex. 手伝いたい = I want to help/I would like to help
      ~てほしい: The speaker wants someone to do something
      Ex. 手伝ってほしい = I want you (or someone) to help me.


  3. Hi Maggie sensei
    I have a question. I want to ask someone to cover my shift for me. Is my sentence correct?



    1. Hello, パラミタ
      OK, just change a little.

  4. Thank you for the lesson!

    Besides 「はい、いいですよ。」how do you reply to a request such as 「アイススケートを教えてほしいです」?

    Thank you

    1. Hello Rei,

      You can say
      うん、いいよ (casual)
      はい、喜(よろこ)んで (with pleasure)
      はい、もちろんいいですよ。 (of course)

  5. hi maggie sensei!

    I was wondering how to say this in a polite manner:
    –> could you please draw __ for me?

    would it be

    thank you :)

    1. Hi lucy

      (__)を描いてもらえますか? is fine.

      (more polite) 〜を描いていただけますか?
      (more polite)〜を描いていただけますでしょうか。

  6. Maggie! Is there a way to say, in Japanese, the English equivalent of “I was wondering if you could ~~~?”
    Would it maybe be “~~していただけないでしょうか.”?

    1. Hi Meghann
      ~していただけないでしょうか. is fine but you can also say

  7. こんにちは maggie 先生!

    i’d like to ask, how do we say this in a polite way?

    “please sing a song”
    “please make a new song”

    1. こんにちはキッド
      “please sing a song”
      or it might sound redundant but you also say

      Casual speech

      If you say “one song” instead of “a song”, you say
      一曲歌ってください。= ikkyoku utatte kudasai.・(casual) 一曲歌って! = ikkyoku utatte!

      “please make a new song
      (casual) 新しい歌を作って!
      or if you are talking to a composer
      you can say 曲(kyoku) instead of 歌

  8. Hi, Maggie Sensei.
    Thank you very much for all your lessons!
    I read that ありたい can be used as hoshii. What’s the difference?
    In the sentence:生まれながら に そういう人間で ありたかった. かんぜんに人ごとだ how can it be translated?
    Thank you.

    1. Hello Bere,
      First here is the difference between たい and ほしい
      * verb+たい = The speaker/writer wants to do something
      * someone に verbて+ほしい = The speaker/writer wants someone to do something.

      * 〜でありたい = The speaker/writer wants to be ~
      * Someone に〜であってほしい = The speaker/writer wants someone to be ~

      So 生まれながら に そういう人間で ありたかった means
      I’ve wanted (Or I’ve been wanting) to be that kind of person since I was born.

  9. Hello maggie sensei,
    Thank you very much for the lesson. It is very useful for everbody who wants to learn Japanese.

    Could you please check which version among the sentences I`ve written below is correct ?

    -Tanakasan watashi ni meeru wo okuruno wo onegaishimashita.
    -Tanakasan watashi ni meeru wo okuru koto wo onegaishimashita.
    -Tanakasan watashi ni meeru wo okuru you ni onegaishimashita.
    -Tanakasan watashi ni meeru wo okutte kudasai tte iu onegai wo shimashita.

    1. Hi Burak
      You want to say
      Tanaka-san asked me to send him/her an email?
      If so, you write from your point of view so instead of “onegai shimashita” you use “tanomaremashita or passive form of onegai shimashita.

      Takahashisan ni meeru wo okuru you tanomaremashita.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply Maggie sensei,
        Yes, that is what I want to say. How would you rebuild this
        sentence with `tte iu` 
        I always hear this speech pattern, they use this especially reporting
        a speech.

        …tte iu hanashi wo shita
        …tte iu onegai …

        Because I”m a new learner of Japanese I can”t hear exactly what they say but
        I guess it is used very often.

        1. Sorry for bothering with my questions
          I would like to ask one more question
          Can I say : ”Watashi wa tanakasan ni meeru wo okuru no wo onegai shimashita” If I`m who asks for sending email.

          1. When you ask someone to do something, the most natural patten is using よう
            = you ni onegai suru/ tanomu
            So, Watashi wa Tanaka san ni meeru wo okuru you ni tanonda.(onegai shita)

  10. Hi Maggie-sensei~♫

    Thanks for another nice lesson. I have a question about another form. Where would you place 〜てくれないでしょうか and 〜ていただけないでしょうか on the politeness scale?

    Thanks for the reply!

    1. @Johan
      Hello! Johan! :)
      Good question! Maybe I should include them as well when I have time.
      〜てくれないでしょうか goes above くれませんか?

      and 〜ていただけないでしょうか goes between いただきたいんですが and いただけませんか

  11. Thank you for another really helpful lesson, Maggie Sensei! If convenient, could you please consider teaching us how to use さらに in a future lesson? Have looked it up myself online but still find it quite confusing because it looks like there are quite a few meanings and ways to use the word. I feel like I could learn it a lot better if Maggie Sensei taught it because you always lay down the rules in a clear, concise way. Thank you so much for considering!

  12. Hi Maggie sensei,

    This is a great lesson. (thumbs up). :uparrow:


    I go into a shop and want to take a look at something. (e.g. a toy)

    Level of politeness (Extremely to appropriately – top down)

    これ、見せて いただけませんか?
    これ、見せて くださいませんか?
    Extremely polite. Probably not appropriate
    if we consider “buyer / client” is “king”.
    Anyway, it is always good to be polite.
    Never goes wrong.

    これ、見せて もれえませんか? 
    Could I take a look at this?
    Very polite – consider the shop owner’s feeling.
    Literally, could I “receive” a “take a look service”
    at this product?

    これ、見せて くれませんか?
    Could I take a look a this ?
    Very polite but less polite than もれえませんか

    Literally, could you “give me”
    a “take a look service” at this product?

    これ、見せて もらえますか?
    Could I take a look at this ?

    これ、見せて くれますか?
    Could I take a look at this ?
    Polite but less polite than もらえますか.

    これ、見せて ください。
    Could I take a look at this.
    Acceptable polite is you are talking
    to the shop owner. Well, probably quite common
    for buyer ( the one who pays) to say this.

    Please advise. Not sure if I get them right.


  13. hello Maggie sensei ^^
    can you tell me the difference among these in terms of the meaning ( to change), I always get confused and don’t know which one to choose:
    変わる 換わる  代わる  替わる

    I’m now studying kanji level 1.. it is sooooo hard and confusing and rarely used I think.. I sometimes I wonder if Japanese people know them all hhhhh.. Japanese people are indeed smart, that’s why I love them boucingheart!

    thank you

    1. @Roro
      Hi Roro,

      The best way to figure out the difference is to search those words on the Internet and compare the usages.
      (v.i) 変わる → (v.t.) 変える  transform, change into something completely different
      Ex. 彼は変わってしまった。= He has changed. (to someone different)
      Ex. 髪型を変える= to change one’s hair style.

      (v.i) 代わる → (v.t.) 代える substitute
      Ex. マギー先生は忙しいので今日のレッスンはマックス先生が代わります。
      = Maggie is busy today so Max will substitute today’s lesson.

      The difference between 替わる,替える & 換わる,換える is very vague and sometimes they are interchangeable.
      (v.i) 替わる  →(v.t.) 替える exchange, to succeed, to switch

      (v.i) 換わる → (v.t.) 換える exchange, interchange, to replace

      Technically you use 替わる,替える when you exchange something with something new.

  14. Ex. Vて ( = te) いただけますか? ( = itadakemasu ka) is more polite than
    !koujichuu!  Vて ( = te) + いただけますか? ( = itadakemasu ka?) !koujichuu! 
    I am just kidding. You can talk to me casually.—–>nihongo onegaishimasu :cryingboy:
    casual talk = tameguchi desu ka ??
    Ashita made ni [ressunn] :rrrr: [ressun] wo mittsu tsukutte kurenai

    1. @zoheb


      I am just kidding. You can talk to me casually.
      —–>nihongo onegaishimasu :cryingboy:
      casual talk = tameguchi desu ka ??
      I meant to say, 気さくに話しかけてね。or
      Casual speech is カジュアルな話し方/くだけた話し方.
      タメ語 tamego belongs to Casual speech but it is considered to be really casual.

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