Making Requests: ください, をちょうだい and をくれ

In Japanese, making requests can be nuanced with various expressions depending on the level of politeness and context. Three common expressions are を下さい(ください), をちょうだい, and をくれ. Each has its own usage and connotation, making it important to understand their differences to communicate effectively.

ください (Kudasai)

を下さい(ください) is a polite way to request something. It is commonly used in both formal and casual settings. The kanji "下さい" is often replaced with hiragana "ください" to maintain simplicity.

みず を ください。 - Please give me some water.

パン を ください。 - Please give me some bread.

じゅうしょ を ください。 - Please give me your address.

This expression is versatile and can be used in various situations, from restaurants to everyday conversations.

をちょうだい (Wochōdai)

をちょうだい is a more casual and somewhat childish way to make a request. It is less formal than をください and often used among friends or by children. It can sometimes sound endearing or playful.

おかし を ちょうだい。 - Give me some sweets, please.

おかね を ちょうだい。 - Give me some money, please.

ボール を ちょうだい。 - Give me some money, please.

Due to its informal nature, it’s best to use this expression with people you are familiar with.

をくれ (Wokure)

をくれ is a direct and informal way to ask for something. It can come across as a command rather than a polite request. This form is often used by men and can sound quite rough.

ほん を くれ。 - Give me the book.

そのペン を くれ。 - Give me that pen.

チケット を くれ。 - Give me the ticket.

Given its bluntness, をくれ is typically used in contexts where formality is not necessary or among close friends.

Comparing the Expressions

To better understand when to use each expression, consider the following table that compares their levels of politeness and appropriate contexts:

ExpressionPoliteness LevelAppropriate Contexts
をくださいPoliteFormal and casual settings, public places
をちょうだいCasualAmong friends, family, or children
をくれInformalClose friends, informal situations
  • をください: Suitable for any public setting or when speaking to someone you do not know well.
    • Example: 店員さんに水をくださいと言いました。 (I asked the store clerk for water.)
  • をちょうだい: Ideal for relaxed, informal environments with people you are close to.
    • Example: 子供がお母さんにお菓子をちょうだいと言った。 (The child asked their mother for sweets.)
  • をくれ: Best used in very informal settings where the speaker has a comfortable relationship with the listener.
    • Example: 友達にその本をくれと言った。 (I told my friend to give me that book.)

Understanding these nuances will help you navigate social interactions in Japanese more smoothly. By choosing the right expression, you can show respect, friendliness, or familiarity as the situation demands.