Chotto tetsudatte-itadakemasen-ka? (Could you help me?)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray talks to her colleague Mr. Nakano.

グレイ: すみません、この資料を会議室に持っていきたいんですけど、ちょっと手伝っていただけませんか。

中野: あ、はい、こちらの資料ですね。

Gurei: Sumimasen, kono shiryō-o kaigi-shitsu-ni motte ikitai-n-desu-kedo, chotto tetsudatte-itadakemasen-ka?

Nakano: A, hai, kochira-no shiryō-desu-ne?

Gray: Excuse me, I’d like to take these documents to the meeting room. Could you help me?

Nakano: Oh sure, these documents, right?

Today we’ll introduce expressions that politely ask the listener to do something. Xて(verb in te-form)+ください is an expression that denotes a request and Xて+くださいませんか, Xて+もらえませんか, Xて+いただけませんか and Xて+いただけないでしょうか are more polite forms, in ascending order of politeness. Please note that Xて+もらえませんか (with え) is correct — not Xて+もらいませんか (with い). Which expression to use depends on the degree of politeness and intimacy that exists between the listener and speaker.

Situation 2: After the party, Mr. Sere asks Mr. Yamada to help Ms. Sato.

セレ: 駅まで車で行くなら、いっしょに佐藤さんを送ってあげてくれない?

山田: もちろん、いいよ。

Sere: Eki-made kuruma-de iku-nara, issho-ni Sato-san-o okutte-agete-kurenai?

Yamada: Mochiron, ii-yo.

Sere: If you’re going to the station by car, could you take Mr. Sato with you?

Yamada: Of course, no problem.

When the speaker asks the listener to do something for someone else’s benefit, Xて (verb in te-form) +あげてください is used. Its casual forms are Xて+あげてくれる and Xて+あげてくれない? The more formal forms (in ascending order of politeness) are Xて+あげてもらえませんか, Xて+あげていただけませんか and Xて+あげていただけないでしょうか. The particle that attaches to the person who is the object depends on what verb is being used. When X is an action verb that affects the other person — such as 助(たす)ける (to help), 待(ま)つ (to wait for), 連(つ)れていく (to take someone) — then を is used, as above, when Mr. Sere mentioned Ms. Sato. When X is an action verb that has an object that affects the person — such as 見(み)せる (to show), 貸(か)す (to lend), 教(おし)える (to teach, tell) — then Y(person)にZ(object) を is the structure used. Example: チャンさんに傘(かさ)を貸(か)してあげてくださいませんか (Could you lend an umbrella to Ms. Chang?). When the object is someone’s belonging, Y (person)のZ(belonging)を is used. Example: 山田(やまだ)さんの荷物(にもつ)を運(はこ)んであげていただけないでしょうか (Could you carry Ms. Yamada’s baggage?).

Bonus Dialogue: After a meeting, Mr. Mita, Ms. Gray and the section chief, Mr. Tachikawa, stay behind to talk a little.

立川: 来週(らいしゅう)、マレーシアから新(あたら)しい 研修生(けんしゅうせい)が来(く)るんです。アナさん っていうんですけど、その人(ひと)に仕事(しごとを教(おし)えてあげてくださいませんか。それから、会社(かいしゃ)の中(なか)を案内(あんない)してあげていただきたいんですけど。

グレイ: ええ、もちろんいたします。

立川: それから、お手数(てすう)なんですけど、アナさんの日本語(にほんご)のレポートをチェックしてあげて くださいませんか。

グレイ: はい。わかりました。

立川: お忙(いそが)しいところ申(もう)し訳(わけ)ありませんが、どうぞよろしくお願(ねが)いします。

グレイ: いいえ、お気(き)づかいなく。こういうとき、頼(たの)まれなくてもいろいろしてくれる人がいますので。ね、三田さん?

三田: え? はい、そのとおりです。

Tachikawa: A new trainee is coming to this office next week from Malaysia. Her name is Anna. Could you show her the ropes in terms of the job? Then, would you show her around our office?

Gray: Sure, of course.

Tachikawa: Also, I’m sorry to trouble you, but could you check the Japanese in her report?

Gray: Yes, I understand.

Tachikawa: Sorry to bother you when you’re busy, but I really appreciate your cooperation.

Gray: No, don’t worry about it. For this task, there is a person here who’s perfect for the job. Right, Mr. Mita?

Mita: Huh? Oh yes. Er, exactly what she said.

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