Japanese Language Blog

Understanding vague expression of Japanese Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Culture, Grammar

One of the main characteristics of Japanese~



Japanese can be such a vague language, where in our grammar, verb is always at the end. Compared to English, this can be something frustrating if you are new to speaking or reading Japanese. I often listen to my friends explain something and in my mind, thinking, “what do you really want to say?”…

The thing is, in Japanese, we often do not make ourselves too clear, because that is way too straight forward and might offend the person you are talking to. This is especially true, if you are speaking to a customer or someone who might be in higher status.

So, with this said, let me tell you some of the expressions that might sound way too straight forward. (you might want to try avoiding these expressions in Japanese…)

1.Dakara ittayone?(だから言ったよね? だから いったよね。)==> I told you so, didn’t I?

This sounds really mean, actually. “Dakara(だから)” in general is not a nice word to say at any times.

Instead use==> Sou itteoita to omouno desuga (そう 言っておいたと 思うのですが。そう いっておいたと おもうのですが。)



2.Mou yamete moraema senka? (もう やめて もらえませんか?)==> Could you just stop it?

Although this might sound not too rude, it is pretty straight forward, telling the person not to do it again.

Instead use==> Mou, yamete itadaki tai nodesuga.(もう やめて いただきたい のですが。)

The use of the expression, ~desuga (~ですが)is such a great way of making things unclear=not to sound too straight forward. This is pretty handy where you can apply in many places.



3.Asu itte kudasai.(明日、行ってください。あす いって ください。)==> Please go there tomorrow.

This does not sound too bad, depending on the way you say it, if you were to say this softly, it will be ok, but if you want to soften this, try

Asu itte kudasai mase (明日、行ってくださいませ。あす いって くださいませ。)

By adding “mase(ませ)” right at the end, you can definitely soften the expression..


So, you might get frustrated occasionally due to the way Japanese sounds, but this is one of the characteristics of Japanese language, which I don’t think it’s too bad… What do you think?

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. Ray:

    I am considered rudely blunt to other Americans. I started to learn Japanese because of my love of J-pop manga and anime and progressed to a real infatuation with the culture. Thinking in the Japanese way is proving to be a challenge. I think that “sometimes it is best to say nothing” may become my default setting.