Another free Japanese lesson for beginners and intermediate students is here. In Japan, giving advice has some rules; as everything. There are various levels of politeness and you should consider which level to use based on the situation and person you are talking to. This post teaches you some ways on how to give advice or make recommendations.
The main rule is to give advice only if someone asks you to. Otherwise, you might look impolite. So, let’s talk about how you can advise someone.
Giving neutral advice
If you think that a person can be harmed or there will be negative consequences for that person, use this form. The sentence pattern differs based on whether the advice is positive or negative.
To tell a person what he/she should be doing, use the advice in positive form. This advice is formed by using a verb in -ta form in the following structure:
[V-ta] hō ga ii [desu].
Motto yasai wo tabeta hō ga ii desu yo. You’d better eat more vegetables.
If you want to say that someone shouldn’t be doing something, use the negative form of advice. This form uses a verb in a short present tense form.
[V-nai] hō ga ii [desu].
Jugyou wo yasumanai hou ga ii desu yo. You’d better not skip the lessons.
Terebi o minai hō ga ii desu. You’d better not watch the TV.
Giving polite advice
Polite advice can be heard in public statements and in speech of clerks in stores. Use polite advice to say that if the listener follows your advice, it will give him/her some benefit. The structure of such advice looks like this:
Remember, that even though these sentences end with kudasai, they are more like orders rather than requests. If someone tells you e.g. otaberi kudasai, it means the speaker is encouraging you to eat for your own good.
Setsumei wo oyomi kudasai. Please read the instructions.
Creating polite advice is full of irregularities. Especially with combined verbs. For example, in verb+suru combination, the prefix go instead of o is used.
Goran kudasai. (goran ni naru / miru) Watch please.
Oyasumi kudasai. (oyasumi ni naru / neru) Rest please.
Giving impolite advice
This form of advice is considered impolite, because it has a critical tone of voice. It is understood as a criticizing the person for not doing the activity expressed by the verb. Impolite advice is created using -tara form of the verb.
[V-tara] dō desu ka.
Motto benkyou shitara dou desu ka. How about studying more? You can say this e.g. to your son if he often receives bad grades at school and he is not studying at all.
Kusuri wo nondara dou desu ka. How about taking the medicine?
As we have learned in this post, we have more ways of giving advice based on the circumstances. Now, it is your turn, give someone an advice.