Can someone help me with 申す?

So in the vocab and the kanji say that 申(す) means to say humbly. I know literally that doesn’t mean “say humbly”, but I still don’t really understand what that means. Can someone give me some sentences as to how it is used?

Also, I know it is used to be polite, but once again I’m not exactly sure when someone ever says “say” polite, if that makes sense.

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As I understand it, it just means “say” in a polite way.


Jisho is a great resource for accessing sample sentences!

  1. to say; to be called​ Humble (humble form) (kenjougo)

  2. to do (​humble form) (kenjougo), after a word beginning with お- or ご-

From this search I found this:

This is Mr Suzuki speaking.

It can be say or do. Often with more polite language, you use a more formal verb. There are examples of both usages in the #sentences search linked.

So basically if I were speaking Japanese and I wanted to say … “@dsemumi “says” that the answer is blah blah” politely/formally, then I would use 申し? I guess it just seems weird to use a polite form of something when speaking about someone else. But then again I guess that would make sense.

I’m unsure, actually. I’ve only ever seen it used in reference to oneself or in set expressions like a really formal way of saying thank you. Someone here might know though.

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You generally don’t use humble forms to talk about the actions of other people, though there can be exceptions (for instance, if you’re talking about someone in the same company as you and you’re talking to a customer). You’d usually use an honorific form to describe another person’s actions.


I guess I’m just unsure of when we even use “say” then. Would it be used when you’re trying to explain something like “What I’m trying to say is”?

It’s a humble form of 言う. Do you know how to use 言う?

The most common thing is when someone introduces themselves. Instead of 私はリーと言います (basically “I am called Lee”, or even more literally “As for me, I say Lee” but then it starts to seem too weird haha) , you can say 私はリーと申します.

But for beginners it’s usually going to sound odd to use full keigo, because it demands a high level of understanding to sound natural. So I would recommend just being aware of what it means in case you hear someone else use it, and not try to worry about using it yet.


Alright thanks. Yeah, I’m still pretty low on understanding a lot of vocab. I’m going to use Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N5 1000* to learn more common vocab to help with my immersion as well. Thanks for the help.

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