Main difference between なさい (nasai) and 下さい (kudasai)

You might often heard about sentence end in なさい (nasai) or 下さい (kudasai). Sometimes you thought you might just misheard them since they sound quite similar. But it turn out they are a different breed with a quite different formality level.

Yes, you might not want to use them within a wrong situation since people might see you as disrespectful. To avoid that, let’s learn the difference between なさい (nasai) and 下さい (kudasai).

Note that in this article we’re not going to talk about お願いします (onegaishimasu). Check out this article instead about the difference between 下さい (kudasai) and お願いします (onegaishimasu).

To politely ask someone to do something for you, use 下さい (kudasai)

Use this when you want to make these kind of requests:
– Please carry my bag
– Please use this paper
– Please show it to me
Formula for 下さい (kudasai)

First you change the verb form into it’s て form then add 下さい.

Here’s a sample:
たべる -> 食べて下さい
taberu -> tabetekudasai
eat -> Please eat

よむ -> 読んで下さい
yomu -> yondekudasai
read -> Please read

You can also use it to ask for things (nouns):
Gohan o kudasai
Rice please

Note that there are type of request where you cannot use 下さい (kudasai). For details, check out 下さい (kudasai) vs お願いします (onegaishimasu)

To give order to someone with lower position / younger than you, you can use なさい (nasai)

Yes, give order. It’s still making a request, but it’s stronger. Japanese are really serious about the formality level. So if you’re unsure, use 下さい (kudasai) instead and you should be safe!

Please eat

Eat this

Important: You cannot use なさい (nasai) for negative request. So you can ask “Please clean it up” but you cannot use this to say “Please don’t clean it up”. There is no such restriction for 下さい (kudasai).

That’s all for now and hope it helps! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

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