Question on 下さい or ください

does “二十円をください” or “二十円を下さい” make sense?

Well, in the sense of whether it’s ください or 下さい, either works perfectly well.

As long as you don’t pronounce the second one as したさい


The way I interpret it is like this. The 下 is there as a textual representation of bowing your head and humbly asking for something. Since you’re asking for money, I’d say it’s appropriate.

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2 Likes has 下さい as “usually written in kana alone”.

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If it’s an auxiliary then you would follow the general principle of not using kanji for auxiliaries.

Like in してください

If it’s on its own as just a verb, then either is fine.

As in 一つください or 一つ下さい


Also do you need to add です at the end of it too make it formal?

ください is a verb. It’s the command form of くださる, so you cannot put です after it. It’s already an honorific expression, so it’s polite.


can you use ます at then end then if its a verb?

You can, though the command form of ます is not super common. It’s most often heard in the set expression いらっしゃいませ (“welcome” when used by employees in stores or restaurants).

But it is indeed possible to say くださいませ. It is more frequently used by women, and only in extremely polite or business settings. For instance お待ちくださいませ instead of お待ちください for “please wait.”

I wouldn’t recommend using it as a beginner.

くださいます would just be the ます form of くださる, so not a command, but rather a non-past statement. (Several honorific verbs have irregular conjugations, which is why the ます form is not くださります)


I think that, if ください isn’t polite enough, most of the time people would go for おねがいします instead rather than くださいます (which I have never heard - but tbf that’s not saying much)?

Did you mean くださいませ? (though it’s not like くださいます on its own would be heard much either, I only mentioned it because that might have been what the OP was imagining when he said “use ます with ください”)

Sure, there are lots of other expressions that can go beyond just ください, though ください is plenty polite. Grammatically おねがいします might not be an option.

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The next step up from ください is くださいませんか

I probably did mean -ませ, yes.

It might be more natural sounding if you said “二十円下さい”。drop the “を”

The answer to whether or not to use the kanji depends on what the word means. The technical rule is that when a word is being used in its original sense, the kanji should (or at least can) be used. That’s why 下さい is used when asking for objects, when the verb is actually being used to mean ‘give’. In this case, therefore, the technically correct usage – in writing – is 二十円を下さい. Other examples of this include saying stuff like 「ご飯を食べて、行きます 」or「行って来ます」(at least, this is how I write it and how it’s listed in Goo辞書) or 「プレゼントを貰った」: the literal meaning of the verbs are preserved in all these cases, and they’re not simply acting as auxiliaries, so technically, kanji should be used in these cases. In practice, however, these rules aren’t always followed, especially when the kanji are rare, so it’s alright if you don’t follow them either.

I’m not sure that “should be used” is the full story. I think, as you were saying, it’s just that the use in the original meaning unlocks the kanji usage potential, but then because there are still lots of other writing guidelines in Japanese, one of those could take priority and still leave it in kana.

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I meant in the technical, ‘formally correct’ sense. I got that idea from statements like these in documents from the Japanese Ministry of Culture:

例)事→こと 時→とき 所・処→ところ 物・者→もの

(Full document here) That basically says that ‘one writes in kanji’ when there’s an actual thing referenced by a word that is often just a ‘formal noun’. Something similar is said about words like くる and いく further down. That’s why I have the impression that that’s a ‘rule’, or at least a guideline from one particular authority.

However, I agree that factors like the style of a publication, the target audience and the most common ways of writing a word play a big part, possibly a much bigger part than any official or officious rule. Clarity or avoiding indecipherable kanji chains are other examples of reasons to choose one style over another. (EDIT: Oh, and actually, even the document I just cited gives examples of when kana should be preferred even when original meaning hasn’t exactly been lost, so yes, it’s not that simple, even in terms of guidelines.)

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