masen ka/mashou ka

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Joy Malineau, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Joy Malineau New Member


    I've just started to learn Japanese and already have a question.

    Could you explain the difference between ~masen ka/~mashou ka, please?

    Like here:
    sushi o tabemasen ka
    sushi o tabemashou ka

    Aren't they both suggestions? And if yes, then is there a difference in meaning or in politness or in anything else?
    Does the latter address to everyone and the former to the certain people/person?

    I am at lost here.
  2. hanako52 Member


    The both sentences could mean " Let's eat sushi together/ why don't we eat sushi together."
    However, as for the latter there is also a case where people are sitting/standing near/in front of sushi and someone says 食べましょうか suggesting that they should start eating the sushi. It is more like a polite way of having people start doing something.
  3. Ice9japan

    Ice9japan New Member

    As a general rule of thumb, if you add the negative ("ません" "masen") to any verb in a question its slightly more polite as hanako52 mentioned. It can (i think) be used with most verbs and is rather popular in everyday conversation here in Japan.

    お寿司を食べませんか?(sushi o tabemasen ka?) = "Why don't we eat sushi?" (rhetorical question of course:))
    お寿司を食べましょうか?(sushi o tabemashou ka?) = "Shall we eat sushi?"
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2014
  4. tokotoko109109 Member

    I am not good at English, but I am also curious, so I searched for this.
    someone say like this.
    「-ませんか」 is "invitation".
    「-ましょうか」 is "proposal".
    「ましょうか」 is "asking target's intention/thought"
    「ませんか」is "proposal"
    both "invitation"
    「ましょうか」 is "at first, state my thought, and ask target's intention/thought about my thought"
    so 「せんか」 is more aggressive/active.
  5. Joy Malineau New Member

    A big thank you to everyone hanako52, Ice9japan, tokotoko109109!
    With all your POV it has become clearer now :)
    I see it also depends on situtation and all I need to do is to think how this or that phrase would sound in every certain case.

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