The Meaning of Kudasai: What It Is and How To Use It

This guide will provide all of the information you need on the Japanese word kudasai, including its translation, meaning, usage, sentence examples, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does kudasai (ください) mean?

According to Japanese Particles Master, kudasai (ください) is the imperative form of the verb “kudasaru,” which means “to give” in Japanese. The rough English translation is “please give me.”  It can also be used as an auxiliary verb put after another verb to soften its meaning, often translated to simply “please” in English. This word is used by native speakers to ask someone to do something in a polite way. It is often used with other verbs. The hiragana of kudasai is ください.

What are other conjugations of the verb kudasaru?

According to Japanese Verb Conjugator, kudasaru is a verb that means “to give.” In the present tense, the verb has four different conjugations: plain positive, plain negative, polite positive, and polite negative.

The plain positive form is kudasaru. The plain negative form is kudasaranai. The plain polite version is kudasaimasu, and the polite negative version is kudasaimasen. Kudasai is the imperative “plain positive” form of the verb kudasaru.

How is kudasai used?

When someone requests something from another person in Japanese, they use the “te” form of the verb, in which many of the words end in “te” or “de,” according to Kawakawa Learning Studio. This verb form can also be used to link to thoughts or phrases together. When using kudasai, one will use the te form of the verb along with the word kudasai to create a polite request. 

For example, NHK states that in the Japanese language, the verb “to eat” is tabemasu. The te form of tabemasu is tabete. Therefore, tabete kudasai means “please eat.” This is the same general structure that is followed when using the word kudasai: a verb in its te form followed by the word kudasai to create a polite request.

This is frequently seen in the common phrase yamete kudasai, which means “please stop it,” or according to Urban Dictionary, with the word “aishite.” “Aishite” roughly translates to “love me.” Therefore, aishite kudasai means “please love me.”

What’s the difference between kudasai and onegaishimasu?

According to Thought Co, both kudasai and onegaishimasu (お願いします) are Japanese words that are used when making requests, and both have rough translations to the word “please” in English. However, the two words have nuanced differences that are important to learn when using the two different words in Japanese.

Kudasai is a more familiar and casual word that is used when one requests something they know they are entitled to. This would be used if someone is requesting something from a friend or sibling, or someone of the same or lower social status to you. Kudasai is used when making a request that involves a specific action with te form verbs. This is similar to the word “tu” in Spanish.

On the other hand, onegaishimasu is more formal than kudasai. It is more polite and is used when requesting a favor, or when requesting something from a superior, elder, or a stranger. People use onegaishimasu when making a request for service, like asking for someone on the phone or giving a destination to an Uber driver. It followers a similar pattern to the word “usted” in Spanish.

How is kudasai commonly used in a sentence?

Below are a few common phrases in which one might use the word “kudasai.” According to Elon, “yoku kiite kudasai” is a common phrase that means “please listen carefully.” A teacher may tell a room full of students “yoku kiite kudasai” when asking them to listen to instructions. Kudasai is often used at the end of a sentence.

According to Matcha JP, “chotto matte kudasai” is another common expression that means “please wait a moment.” Someone might use this if their significant other is walking ahead of them, but they need to stop and tie their shoe.

“Chotto kite kudasai” translates to “can you come with me?” A woman may whisper this to her friend when she is going to the bathroom if she feels unsafe or if she wants to talk to her friend in private.

“Chotto oshiete kudasai” means “could you tell me?” This can be used when asking for directions or other information one does not know. If asking for something from someone from a higher social class, the word onegaishimasu would be used instead.

Many of these phrases use the word “chotto.” According to ThoughtCo, “chotto” roughly translates to “a small amount” and is used when asking for something small – a small moment, or a small piece of information.

“Keisatsu/kyuukyuusha o yonde kudasai” means “please call the police/an ambulance.” These expressions are used in an emergency and used when someone needs immediate assistance. It is similar to the American English, “Call 911.”

Overall, the word kudasai is a Japanese word that means “please” or “please give me” in English. This word can either be used to make requests, or as a way to soften imperative verbs in formal settings to make them more polite. It is often translated as “please.” The more formal version of the word please is onegaishimasu. If you’re going to use the word kudasai in Japanese, ganbatte kudasai – please do your best, do not give up, and hang in there!