Lesson 4.1

Dialogue 1 Headphones

Michael is on the project team headed by Ms. Tanaka. He has been given an assignment.

Honda: Taihen desu ne.That’s a lot of work, isn’t it.



Tetsudaimashou kaShall I help you?

て つ だ


Michael: Ie, daijoubu desu.No, I’m fine.



Ekuseru o tsukaimasu kara. I’ll use Excel, so…



Honda: Sou desu ka? Ja, ganbattekudasai.Are you sure? Well, then, good luck.


Michael: Hai, ganbarimasu.Thanks (I’ll try hard.)



Michael: Zenbu dekimashita!All Done!

ぜ ん ぶ


Tanaka: Hayai desu nee! So fast!

は や い


Vocabulary Headphones

taihen(na) たいへん(な)大変 difficult, challenging

tetsudaimasu てつだいます手伝います help

tetsudaimashou ka てつだいましょうか手伝いましょうか shall I help?

ekuseru えくせるエクセル (Microsoft) Excel

o を Object marking particle

kara から because, so

ganbatte kudasai がんばってください Good luck!

banbarimasu がんばります I’ll do my best

zennbu ぜんぶ全部 all, the whole thing

hayai はやい早い fast, early

osoi おそい遅い slow, late

dou shite どうして why

naze なぜ why (formal)

nan de なんで why (casual)

waado わあどワード (Microsoft) Word

apuri あぷりアプリ app, application

intaanetto いんたあねっとインターネット internet

netto ねっとネット internet

pawaapointo ぱわあぽいんとパワーポイント PowerPoint

fairu ふぁいるファイル file

+waifai わいふぁい Wi-FiWi-Fi

Grammar Notes

4-1-1 ~mashou, Suggesting or Offering to Do Something

The –mashou form is made by changing -masu to -mashou. A verb in the – mashou form means ‘let’s do X’ or ‘why don’t I do X’. It is used to make a suggestion or offer to do something.

Kaerimashou. Let’s go home.

Tetsudaimashou ka? Shall I help you?

While the speaker is always included as a doer of the action, the addressee might not be included depending on the context.

Ekuseru o tsukai mashou. Let’s use Excel. Or, Why don’t I use Excel.

Now, how do you respond to a suggestion or an offer made to you?

  • When suggested to do something:

To accept: Sou shimashou.Let’s do that.

To disagree politely: Iya, chotto….No, just….

  • When someone has offered to do something for you:

To accept it: Hai, onegai-shimasu.Yes, please.

To turn it down: Ie, daijoubu desu.No thank you (I’m fine.)

Note that the question form -mashou ka typically has a falling intonation. It is more polite than -mashou alone because the addressee can say no to the question.

Verbs such as arimasu, dekimasu, and wakarimasu do not occur in the –mashou form because they all indicate something beyond one’s control.

4-1-2 Particle O Marking the Object

Every Japanese sentence has a subject, although it is not always explicitly stated.

On the other hand, the occurrence of an object is more limited. This only occurs with certain verbs (transitive verbs, explained later) and usually does not occur in an adjective or noun sentence. In Lesson 1, it was explained that the object of the verb is placed before the verb with or without the particles wa (contrast) or mo (addition). In this lesson, the particle o is added. Consider the following.

Koretabemasu. I’ll eat this.

Kore wa tabemasu. This, I’ll eat (while I won’t eat that).

Kore mo tabemasu. I’ll eat this, too.

Kore o tabemasu. It’s this that I’ll eat.

In all these sentences, kore is the object of the verb tabemasu. When the object is marked by the particle o, the focus is on this item and this item only as the one that you eat. So the last sentence above is typically the answer to the question of ‘what will you eat.’

Depending on the context, what is focused on may be 1) the o-marked object alone or 2) the entire sentence, which presents new information that has not yet been mentioned in the conversation. A very common situation for 1) is in combination with question words (what, who, which, etc.) Question words are inherently focused and thus followed by the particle o (not wa or mo.) Similarly, in a yes-no question, the object, when focused, is marked by the particle o.

  • The object noun is focused.

Dore o tabemasu ka.Which one will you eat?

Kore desu. It’s this.

Kore o tabemasu. I’ll eat this. (This is the one I’ll eat.)

Now let’s see how yes-no questions are answered when the wrong object is presented. The following are two typical answers.

Pasokon o tsukaimasu ka. Is it a laptop that you use?

Iya, pasokon ja nai desu. Sumaho desu.

No, it’s not a laptop. It’s a smartphone (that I use.)

-Iya, pasokon wa tsukaimasen. Sumaho o tsukaimasu.

No, I don’t use a laptop. I use a smartphone.

Note that in the second answer pasokon takes the particle wa, while sumaho takes the particle o. This is because sumaho is the focused item being newly presented. On the other hand, pasokon has been already mentioned and the particle wa here indicates that pasokon is in contrast to sumaho.

  • The entire sentence presents new information.

For example, in the dialogue above, the fact that Michael will use Excel is new information and explains why he does not need help. Here are more examples of this type.

Dekakemasen ka? Won’t you go out?

Iya, nihongo o benkyou-shimasu. No, I’ll study Japanese.

Purezen desu yo. It’s a presentation.

Ja, pawaapointo o tsukurimashou. Well then, let’s make PPT.

4-1-3 Reason + Kara

The clause particle kara connects two sentences together to make one. In the sequence of /Sentence A kara, Sentence B/, Sentence A represents the cause and Sentence B the effect.

Takai desu kara, kaimasen. Because it’s expensive, I’ll not buy it.

Wakarimasen kara kikimasu. Because I don’t understand it, I’ll ask.

Sentence B can be left unsaid when it is understood from the context.

Ikimasen ka. You are not going?

-Ee, ame desu kara. Right, because it’s raining.

The clause particles kara and kedo are opposites of each other. Compare the following.

Takai desu kara, kaimasen. It’s expensive, so I’ll not buy it.

Takai desu kedo, kaimasu. It’s expensive, but I’ll buy it.

There are three Japanese words for ‘why.’ Dou shite is most common, naze more formal, and nan de is casual. Desu ka can directly follow them if the rest of the sentence is understood from the context.

Dou shite kaimasen ka? Why don’t you buy it?

Dou shite desu ka? Why is it (that you don’t buy it)?

Drills and Exercises


Listen to the audio. Following the first two model exchanges, respond to each cue.

Cue: Tetsudaimasu ka.Are you going to help? Headphones

      て つ だ


Response: Mochiron desu. Itsu tetsudaimashou ka. Of course. When shall I help?

   て つ だ


Cue: Shimasu ka. Are you going to do it?


Response: Mochiron desu. Itsu shimashou ka.Of course. When shall I do it?



Cue: Apuri, tsukaimasu ka? Do you use apps? Headphones



Response: Hai, kono apuri o tsukaimasu.Yes, I use this app.



Cue: Terebi, kaimasu ka? Will you buy a TV?



Response: Hai, kono terebi o kaimasu.Yes, I’ll buy this TV.




Cue: Are, takai desu ka? Is that expensive? Headphones



Response: Hai, takai desu kara, kaimasen.Right. It’s expensive, so I won’t buy it.

たか か


Cue: Are, tsukaimasen ka?You don’t use that?



Response: Hai, tukaimasen kara, kaimasen. Right. I don’t use it, so I won’t buy it.



D. Say it in Japanese.

You’ve been asked if you are busy today.

  1. Yes, because I’m going to do my homework.
  2. Of course. Because I’ll practice Japanese.
  3. Why? It’s Sunday today, so I have no work.
  4. Yes, because I’m going to copy my old computer files.
  5. Yes, because I’m going to make slides for a PowerPoint presentation.

You’ve been asked to help set up a meeting for your group. Ask your supervisor the following questions:

  1. Which room should we use?
  2. Shall I write down everyone’s names?
  3. Whom shall I help?
  4. Shall I use this new app?
  5. When shall I email the file?

E. Act these roles in Japanese with a partner.

  1. A co-worker is swamped by work. a) Offer to help. b) Wish him luck.
  2. At a restaurant, ask Ms. Honda what she is going to drink.
  3. You’ve been asked to email a file. Ask which file to email.
  4. At a restaurant, you ordered a while ago. Mention to your companions that it’s taking a long time. Get the attention of a waiter and ask if it’s ready yet.
  5. Ask each other what you do on your day off. Reply. (e.g., read books; watch TV; play sports like tennis, soccer; write blog entries; make cookies; practice Yoga)




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