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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Absolute Beginner Questions Answered by Hiroko, where I’ll answer some of *your* most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is… What's the difference between ONEGAI SHIMASU and KUDASAI?
When you want a bottle of water, you can use both “mizu o onegai shimasu” and “mizu o kudasai”. But, are they exactly the same? Can you use them interchangeably all the time?
Both "kudasai“ and "onegai shimasu" are used when making a request for items. "Kudasai" follows the object and the particle "o", like “mizu o kudasai.”
"Onegai shimasu" can be replaced with "kudasai" when you want an object. It sounds a little more polite than using ‘kudasai’. So you can say, “mizu o onegai shimasu.”
However, there are some situations when only "onegai shimasu" is used.
First, when you are making a request for service. For example, when you ask a taxi driver to drive to Shinjuku station, you should say “Shinjuku eki made onegai shimasu”. In this case “Shinjuku eki made kudasai” doesn’t make any sense.
Second, when you are asking for someone on the phone. For example, you would like to talk to Tomoko on the phone. However, her father answers. In this case you have to say “Tomoko san o onegai shimasu”. If you say, “Tomoko-san o kudasai,” instead, it sounds like a proposal of marriage, like “do you allow me to marry Tomoko?”.
For making requests that involve an action, you need to use “kudasai” after the te-form of a verb. "Onegaishimasu" cannot be used in this case. For example, “matte kudasai” which means “please wait” is a correct sentence. However, “matte onegaishimasu” is never used.
I hope this makes sense to you and you’re able to use "onegaishimasu” and “kudasai” correctly from now on!.
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!


Please to leave a comment.
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 5th, 2020 at 04:17 PM
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Thank you so much for your comment😄

Very good question😅

Please let us know if you have any questions :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

August 5th, 2020 at 01:20 PM
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Why does Tomoko's father have her cell phone?

January 23rd, 2019 at 09:08 PM
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Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your positive feedback!👍

Let us know if you have any questions.


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 22nd, 2019 at 03:21 AM
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This was a super helpful video! Thank you.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 26th, 2018 at 10:09 PM
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I think it's difficult to understand the difference between those two; お願いします and ~ください.

One of the key point would be whether or not those expressions are connected to what sort of words or what form.

For instance, ください should be with either noun or te-form.

Also, ください must have something to do with an action or thing that you 'receive' and 'what to receive'

needs to be clearly stated. 駅まで literally means 'until/to station'. This doesn't have any verb, so what is the

action you want to receive? It'd be 'please take me' or 'please drive', right? But those are not included in the sentence.

So, you cannot use ください in that case.

On the other hand, 待ってください has a verb that you want the other person to do for you: to wait.

If you want to use ください in the sentence of 駅まで, it could be for example:




But those are not very natural...because we know what to expect from the driver...😆

Hope this helps!

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

May 5th, 2018 at 04:42 AM
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こんにちは。 Thank you for your reply, and please excuse my late reply to it.

My problem wasn't as much with the grammar of the two phrases, but with which is used in which situation.

According to Hiroko-sensei in the video, if you want a taxi driver to take you somewhere, you use お願いします.

> 駅までおねがいします。

When you request an action from someone, you use ください.

> 待ってください。

But the taxi driver is clearly doing a lot of actions to drive the passenger to the station 😉 So why isn't ください used there?

Is the difference maybe whether the action is spelled out or not? So with "To the station, please" you would use おねがいします,

but with "Take me to the station, please" you would use ください? Could you say something like 駅まで運んでください?

You might say, my question is, how do I distinguish between "requesting a service" (that mostly involves somebody performing one or multiple actions) and "requesting an action"?

Thanks for any clarification 😄

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 31st, 2018 at 10:55 AM
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I'm sorry for the late reply!

It's a very common confusion and question, actually.

お願いします literally means that you are 'asking a favour' whilst ください literally means

'please give me...' and ください can also be attached to verb (in te-form) to say 'please (do)...'

but お願いします cannot be attached in that way.

Let's take the example of 'please listen':

correct: 聞いてください。

incorrect: 聞いてお願いします。

Hope this helps!

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 25th, 2018 at 08:50 PM
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Hello Kasper,

Glad to know that the lesson was helpful!

In case of any questions, please feel free to contact us. :)


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Kasper Jensen
March 25th, 2018 at 12:28 AM
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Thank you for this explanation, Hiroko-sensei! I've long been confused about how to use those words, but this cleared it up.

February 15th, 2018 at 05:46 AM
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I'm a bit confused about how to distinguish between two of the examples explained in the video. On the one hand, if you're requesting a service you use お願いします. When you request an action, you use ください.

But isn't a service typically an action? If I ask a cab driver to drive me somewhere, don't I request an action from him? Or is the crucial point that a "service" is professional and paid for?

Thanks for any clarification ?