Even Japanese people get it wrong! Honorifics that are grammatically incorrect

May 22, 2017


1000円からお預かりいたします

When you go to supermarket or restaurant in Japan, you might hear these phrases very often. And when you start working as a part time workers, you might hear your colleague saying them. However, did you know that these phrases are grammatically incorrect? So today, I will talk about Japanese honorifics that are grammatically wrong even native speakers always use them. You might be surprised that these phrases are actually wrong, because these words might appear in front of you in the daily life.

First,  when you receive money from your customers, you might hear people saying,

Incorrect-1000円からお預かりします。

Correct-1000円お預かりします。

 

The word ‘kara’ means ‘from’, and the first sentence literally means ‘I am receiving from 1000yen’ which grammatically makes no sense. The second sentence is grammatically correct as it means ‘I am receiving 1000yen (from you)’.

 

When you ask someone for his or her name

Incorrect-おそれいれますが、お名前を頂戴できますでしょうか?

Correct-おそれいれますが、お名前をお伺いしてもよろしいでしょうか?

 

In Japanese, 頂戴literally means ‘to receive’ and it is inappropriate in this context. Therefore, when you want to ask someone’s name, you should be using the word お伺い, which literally means ‘ask’ in Japanese.

 

合計で1500円になります

 

You often hear people saying ーなります in the shopping mall or any other places in Japan. However, let say when you say the above sentence, it means your 1500yen is transformed from something else. Therefore grammatically, the term narimasu is very inappropriate in this context. You should be saying 合計で1500円でございます The word gozaimasu should be used in this context. Therefore, listen carefully to what the staff are saying!

 

Incorrect: ご注文は以上でよろしかったでしょうか?

Correct: ご注文は以上でよろしいでしょうか?

 

This is also a very common mistake made by the native speakers. よろしかった is past form, so it is unnatural to be used in this context. You should just say よろしいでしょうか instead, in order to make your sentence much more natural and grammatically correct.

 

So  let me summarize the phrases that are actually wrong in grammar.

 

1000円からお預かりいたします

おそれいれますが、お名前を頂戴できますでしょうか?

合計で1500円になります

ご注文は以上でよろしかったでしょうか?


These phrases are all wrong, but you often hear them when you are at supermarket and shopping mall. It is very embarrassing for native people to make such mistakes. If you are not a native Japanese speaker, do not get confused by these wrong terms!


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