What is the difference between 下さい kudasai and お願いします onegaishimasu

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When you want to request something, someone might teach you to say お願いします (onegaishimasu). But in another case, they use 下さい (kudasai). What exactly is the difference between them? Find out in article below.

The subtle difference in meaning

下さい (kudasai) : Please do …
お願いします (onegaishimasu) : Could you please do … for me?

As you can see, the difference is subtle, Onegaishimasu is a bit more polite/formal than kudasai. Therefore in most case they are interchangeable.

You don’t need を for onegaishimasu

Check out this example below:

Mizu o kudasai
Water please

Mizu onegaishimasu
Please let me have some water

When the request involves action, you cannot use onegaishimasu

We mean, when you want to make these kind of requests:
– Please listen to this
– Please write using a pencil
– Please read this form

In this case, you use a simple formula.
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

Things where only お願いします could be used

In these occasions below, you cannot use 下さい.

Accepting offer/Ending an order in restaurant

Consider these few situations below:
– You’re in a restaurant, finishing order, and the waiter ask “Is this all?”
– You’re in a shop, and the salesclerk ask you “Is this okay?”
– When you’re in a hotel and the bellboy ask to offer you help with

In that case, you can reply with “お願いします (onegaishimasu)”. The implied meaning are “I entrust them to you/Please do/Please help.

Asking someone for help to do something that you cannot do by yourself.

For example, asking a taxi driver to help you take you somewhere. In this case you use Onegaishimasu.

Shinjuku eki made onegaishimasu.
To Shinjuku station, please.

Asking for someone on the phone

Yamada-san onegaishimasu
Can I please speak to Yamada?

Calling someone for attention
When you want to call someone or a waiter, you could raise your hand and say “お願いします (onegaishimasu)”. And someone should be coming on your way! You can also use すみません for this purpose.

That’s all for now! Hope it helps (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧

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