Invitation and suggestion 1

Three ways of suggesting something and the differences between them

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KanjiVocabularyInvitation and suggestion 1

Kanji

Answer, Solution

Materials, Fee

Logic, Reason, Truth

Begin, Commence

Strap, Thong, Beginning

Work

Vocabulary

答える

To answer, To reply

時間

Time, Hour, Period

料理

Cooking, Meal, Dish, Food

始める

To start, To begin

一緒

Together, At the same time, Same

海外

Abroad, Overseas, Foreign

働く

To work

Invitation and suggestion 1

ませんか

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.

ましょう

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

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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