Invitation and suggestion 1

Three ways of suggesting something and the differences between them

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KanjiVocabularyInvitation and suggestion 1


Answer, Solution

Materials, Fee

Logic, Reason, Truth

Begin, Commence

Strap, Thong, Beginning




To answer, To reply


Time, Hour, Period


Cooking, Meal, Dish, Food


To start, To begin


Together, At the same time, Same


Abroad, Overseas, Foreign


To work

Invitation and suggestion 1


To invite someone to do something together, append ませんか to the stem of a verb. Here are some examples:

  • 一緒いっしょ料理りょうりをしませんか?
  • How about we cook together?
  • ケンさんも海外かいがいませんか?
  • Won't you come overseas with us, Ken?

The ませんか used here is the polite negative form (〜ません) of verbs which was covered in an earlier lesson, with the addition of the question marker particle (). The polite affirmative form (〜ます) cannot be used this way.


Appending ましょう to the stem of a verb has two uses:

  • To suggest for someone to do something together, such as the English expression “let’s...”
  • To express the speaker’s intention to do something, such as the English expression “let me...”

Here are some examples:

  • はじめましょう。
  • Let's begin. (Suggestion)
  • わたしこたえましょう。
  • Let me answer the question. (Speaker’s intention)
  • Q: だれ料理りょうりをしますか?
  • Q: Who's cooking?
  • A: ….わたしがしましょう。
  • A: … I will do. (Speaker’s intention)


ましょうか, which is the question form of ましょう, can also be used to express an invitation and it is very similar to ませんか and ましょう. The sentences below show some examples of ましょうか:
  • たくさんはたらきましたね。やすみましょうか。
  • We worked a lot, didn’t we? Let’s take a break.
  • 時間じかんですね。きましょうか。
  • It’s time. Shall we go?

The differences between the three expressions are:

  • ませんか: used to ask the listener's thoughts/feelings about the invitation/suggestion
  • ましょう: used to ask the listener to do something together
  • ましょうか: used to suggest some action that includes both the speaker and listener

The closest translations for each grammar points are:

  • ませんか: Won't you...? or What do you say to...?
  • ましょう: Let's...
  • ましょうか: Shall we...?

When agreeing to the invitation with ませんか, you can either use the affirmative form of the verb or the stem of the verb + ましょうか. When agreeing to the suggestion with ましょうか, you can confirm it with ましょう.

  • A: ケンさんも海外かいがいませんか?
  • A: Won't you come overseas with us, Ken?
  • B: きます。/きましょう。
  • B: I will come.
  • A: 時間じかんですね。きましょうか。
  • A: It’s time. Shall we go?
  • B: そうですね。きましょう。
  • B: Yes, it is. Let’s go.
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