1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "お水をください。"


Translation:Water, please.

June 6, 2017



"お" takes place before a noun is a polite way for asking something


Can お be used before any noun or are there rules saying it can only be used before specific nouns? I've seen it being used mainly while talking about food or money, for example, before words like ちゃ, さけ and かね。Is the お prefix used only in formal settings? Can it be omitted in informal settings?


There are two common honorific prefixes in Japanese: お and ご. Both can be written with the kanji 御. Usually (though not always), words of Japanese origin will take お and words of Chinese origin will take ご, though there are exceptions, especially for words of Chinese origin taking お instead (like お茶/おちゃ). Usually, this is optional, but some words almost always take the honorific. A lot of foods/drinks always have the honorific. So, you just have to memorize which words always take it and which ones they take. In general, you can add it to words to make them more polite or to specify that they are someone else's. I would suggest you look at more native examples and try to figure out what honorifics are used in what situations and try to apply that in your own speech.


I was confused as to what かね was, googled it and realized that おかね is money, not かね.


かね or 金 is "money". It's just that is ordinarily used with the お- prefix in front of it.


on wikipedia it is said that being polite in such a way is much more common for females, so maybe the "お" makes you appear too female if you are a man?

(german wikipedia article: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geschlechtsunterschiede_im_gesprochenen_Japanisch

there is also an english article but it is not as extensive: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_differences_in_spoken_Japanese

i know wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but at least there are some differences in the language of women and men)


There are definitely gender differences in Japanese relating to the use of お, but for certain words, for example お水, おちゃ, おふろ, the addition of お is not seen as feminine. I'm afraid I can't give you a reason why though, and I suspect native speakers will have a hard time explaining it too.


My teacher said that leaving off the お sounds macho. Then she asked, "Who here wants to sound macho?" No one, neither male nor female, raised their hand.


Jesus, that must have been awkward


Is it necessary? Would it be rude without it?


Copied from one of my earlier comments: as far as I'm aware, not using お水 when referring to "drinking water" is not necessarily impolite, but sounds somewhat uncouth.


I read (somewhere) that the "お" literally means "blessed," so there are certain nouns where it is almost always used, like water and tea.


Actually, the prefix 御【お・ご】literally means "honored" or "honorable". But, it's a similar sentiment. Words like お水 (water), お茶 (tea), ご飯 (rice), etc. typically always use the prefix.


For tea, is the お serving the same purpose? In the earlier lessons we learned green tea is おちゃ and water, みぞ. Then with sentences we learned to add the お. Which seemed new for words like water, but isn't that already the start of the word tea?

And is it the kanji writing that is interpreted as tea instead of specifically green tea? Or can they be used interchangeably, like how the tips say ごはん is rice but is sometimes used to just mean meal?


With water 水・みず is used for the general word "water"
お水・おみず with an honorific refers to water that is clean and drinkable; what you would use when asking for a glass of water.
Both forms are common depending on what kind of water you refer to, so both versions are covered.

お茶・おちゃ "tea" is rarely used without the honorific, though お茶 does carry a nuance of 'especially green tea' as that is what is traditionally used in tea ceremonies.
茶・ちゃ does exist without the honorific as a bit more general word for 'tea' and is more often used to refer to the crop/export than to prepared drinkable tea.

ご飯 ・ごはんfor "(cooked) rice/meal" doesn't really exist without the honorific ご and remain the same "han" reading unless it is in some other compound word like 夕飯・ゆうはん "dinner"
飯 alone is pronounced めし and is a very casual/masculine way of saying "rice/meal"


Thanks for the info! The details about general water vs potable water is interesting and good to know. And your example of 茶 / ちゃ being used without the honorific in reference to a shipment/export makes sense and perfectly answers my question! :) Thanks again!


Is the Kanji or the hiragana more used? Should I learn 御?


Do you know if it is only a thing you say when asking for something? Would it be analagous to saying "may i please have... something" in English kind of?


No, お is placed in front of some words to make your speech sound more polite/refine. It has nothing to do with asking for something (except that you generally want to be polite when asking for something).


so then what would "水をください。" sound like give me water?


It's not that simple. Please have a more thorough read of the other comments in this thread.

It would be wise to keep in mind that, because Japanese and English are such different languages, with different cultural and linguistic history, it's very rare to find phrases/sentences that perfectly line up with each other in terms of meaning, politeness and usage. Also because English is so widely used, what's polite for me might not be quite as polite for you, or it might be more polite/too polite, so no one will be able to definitively answer your question.


"O" is used in front of some nouns as the honorific way of using the word. Like "genki" meaning you are fine, "Ogenki" inplies more politeness.


Right now it's "o mizu w(o) kudasai"... Is "mizu w(o) kudasai", "mizu kudasai" and "o mizu kudasai" all correct (even if they may not have the politeness level)


Yes, all those variations are correct and meaning exactly the same thing, but as you pointed out have different levels of politeness/formality.

Side note: as far as I'm aware, not using お水 when referring to "drinking water" is not necessarily impolite, but sounds somewhat uncouth.


I'm confused on what を represents in this sentence.. Can someone please help?


I'll give a lengthy answer, to help future readers. を (pronounced 'o' when used as a particle) indicates the direct object of the verb. In languages such as German and Russian and Latin, this is known as the accusative case. There is also in English the indirect object (dative case in German etc). In Japanese this is often indicated by 'ni' に.

Consider the sentence: I give the water to the dog. The verb is "give", the subject is "I", the direct object is 'the water' (the water is what is being given) and the indirect object is 'the dog'.

In Japanese and roomaji: 私は犬に水を与えます Watashi wa inu ni mizu o ataemasu.

I've included "watashi wa" for clarity - it is often/usually omitted in Japanese and is inferred by context. "wa" indicates the subject of the verb.

"inu ni" is "to the dog". "ni" is used as "to" for direction of travel and also for indirect objects.

"mizu o" is "the water" with the "o" indicating that the water is receiving the action of the verb (the object), not the the doer of the action (the subject).

PS: There is another particle "e" which is only used for direction of travel. eg "Yokohama e ikimasu" I am going to Yokohama, but you can't say "Inu e mizu o ataemasu" - "e" does not work here.


Arigatou. Your explanation helped me a lot.


That was an incredible explanation, thank you! :D but what about the particle "ga"? What's the difference between "wo" and "ga"? I'm confused


here's a useful article on that, if you still need it: https://8020japanese.com/wa-vs-ga/


The article is helpful, thank you


I would highly advise that you read this.

Super helpful.


Thank you so much for this valuable information ありがとうごさいます


It indicates a sentence part. It usually comes right after the target of a verb. Kudasai is often translated as please, but its true meaning is please give me, give being the verb in question. The wo particle, pronounced o, tells us that water is the thing to be given.


So its more of a polite command? Rather than "May I have a glass of water?", its more of "Please give water to me(implied by no subject)."


水 (4 strokes)

Water, flood, fluid, Wednesday


▪Kun: みず(Mizu)、みず- (Mizu-)

▪On: スイ(Sui)

•••Words Starting with 水•••

▪ 水曜日《すいようび/Suiyoubi》: Wednesday

▪水道《すいどう/Suidou》: Water service


▪ 水平線 《すいへいせん/ suiheisen》:Horizon

▪ 水割り《みずわり/Mizuwari》: Alcohol

•••Words Ending with 水•••

▪ 香水《こうすい/ Kousui》:Perfume

▪ 淡水《 たんすい/Tansui》:Fresh Water

▪ 噴水《ふんすい/Funsui》:Fountain

▪ 洪水《こうずい/Kouzui》:Flood

▪ 海水《かいすい/Kaisui》:Ocean Water

▪雨水《あまみず/Amamizu》:Rain Water


Small correction: 水割り is actually "an alcoholic drink (popularly whiskey), diluted with water", as in a mixed drink using water. Another popular mixer is ソーダ割り which means mixing in soda water instead.


This came in handy during my first flight to Japan. I asked for a water please and the flight attendant looked at me quizzically and said Wine? ワイン wain in Japanese. So I said, "お水をください" and she understood immediately! It was a small victory but it was nice to be able to communicate even a little bit.


I'm a bit confused.... Can i get some water? is a question, but this sentence in Japanese doesn't end as questions do. Can anyone explain this to me?


The Japanese sentence is technically a request, and not a question, as you correctly noticed.

I'm not sure why Duo decided to teach it like this, but polite requests in English are also often framed as questions, hence why "to request" is synonymous with "to ask for".

Personally, I do avoid saying direct requests like "please give me that" when I'm trying to be polite in English, because it's essentially a command, albeit a polite one.



Literal translation: Water Please

お-Polite marker


を-Object particle



So を is used when you want something?


Actually を is an object marker, indicates the object in the sentence. ください is a polite form of "give," it's an imperative verb. So 水をください= Give water. (Imperative, polite). Basically you omit "to me" because the context is usually clear. You can learn the full phrase "N. + ください" = Please give me N. :)


を is the Object particle it comes after an object

for example この飲み物を飲みす。 I drink this drink

この this (comes before a noun)

飲み物 drink

を object particle

飲みます drink (verb)


When do we use "wo" instead of "wa"?


を marks the direct object of the verb (what the verb is acting on).

In the above sentence, お水をください, を marks 水 (water) as the direct object, i.e. the water is what you want to be given to you.

は is a topic marker. For example, これは水です (this is water/there is no verb acting on anything here).


So I think I'm ok with お prefixing nouns like 水 just to make the request more polite, but is there a reason why お doesn't appear in any of the "this/that, please." sentences to make those polite too?


That's a really interesting question. I definitely don't have a concrete answer for you, but you should be aware that お is only used on certain nouns anyway.

For example, you wouldn't use it on loan words, like おパソコン X ("computer"), and there are many words (usually compound kanji words) which use ご instead.

お and ご are actually just different readings of the same kanji, 御, though, so I'm not sure how "this/that" fits into it.


polite way: "お水をください。" to a waiter that he/she forgot to bring a glass of water, then "お水ください。(with a bit louder voice, but not showing any irritation :) then, a man who is dying in the desert without water screams... "水,,, 水をくれ!!!


Is "を" in this phase pronouce /wo/?


It is romanized as "wo" but is pronounced /o/, just like お


my answer here is 「おみずをください」, but the correct answer was 「お水をください。」shouldnt it be the same? please tell me the difference.


That is mainly due to some limitations of Duolingo and is an issue in multiple courses. The volunteer contributors aren't able to add multiple answers to listening questions since they are automatically generated from their original sentences; so if a word is in kanji in the original, it must be written in kanji to be accepted in a listening question. This is a known issue and official staff have been able to add more choices in many of the staff-created courses, but it isn't an ideal fix and not available to the volunteers of other courses. You can try to report your answer as "My answer should be accepted" though I'm not entirely sure where those reports go to yet. If the reports by default still go to the course creators, they're reports the contributors can't do much about it. If they go to staff, there is a way to correct it but there isn't really a dedicated team of staff for adding alternative answers so it may take more time to get to.


Thank you so much! I hope this issue gets resolved faster.


Why it dont acceptes omizuokudasai


Duo doesn't accept romaji answers,

If it was a "type what you hear" listening question you need to type the phrase as written in the proper Japanese お水をください

If it was a "Write this in English" translation question you need to translate the Japanese into English "Water, please" or "please give me water"


I answered same ' o mizu on khudassi' still it showed as wrong


Was that your translated answer or a listening 'type what you hear' answer?
Was that your exact answer as you input it? (because that would be incorrect for both question formats)

The English translation for this question would be either "Water, please" or "Please give me water"
The Japanese 'type what you hear' answer would be exactly as it is written at the top of the page (romaji pronunciation being 'omizu (w)o kudasai' but romaji answers are not accepted)


What does を do isnt this the linking verb for a verb? Which in this case is ください?


を is the linking particle used for connecting an object to a verb.

Actually, ください is an conjugated form of the verb 下さる(くださる)which means "to give". The conjugated form ください means "please give (me)". ("Me" is implied by the directionality of 下さる, due to it being kenjougo or humble language)


Is "sui" another valid reading for that kanji? I believe to have seen it elsewhere...


Yes, it is also read as sui. You've probably seen it in 水曜日(すいようび)meaning "Wednesday"


Why does this request end in period not question mark?


It's a request but not a question. It's like saying 'water please' to a waiter


One thing I've learned practicing these lessons on duolingo is that sometimes the simple answer is the best because it's the most direct translation. We spend so much time trying to construct a complex English sentence from a few Japanese words when in reality, "Water, please" is both accurate AND succinct and the rest of the formalities are just implied. Since the Japanese section is (as of this comment) still in some form of beta, it's been much more useful to boil (ha) everything down to the most basic interpretations and go from there.


Where is the verb in the sentence? "get" and "some"? All I can see is "Water please"


ください is a conjugated form of the verb 下さる(くださる)which means "to give". The conjugated form ください means "please give (me)". ("Me" is implied by the directionality of 下さる, due to it being kenjougo or humble language)


Could I say as well:

お野菜をください? おパンをください? お魚をください?

And it would be more polite?


You could probably say お野菜をください and お魚をください, but おパン sounds unnatural.

Also, adding お to words like 野菜 and 魚 would make it more polite but it tends to sound feminine for some reason. For certain words, for example お水, おちゃ, おふろ, the addition of お is not seen as feminine, but I'm afraid I can't give you a reason why, and I suspect native speakers will have a hard time explaining it too.


Could I say "水 おねがいします"? Which one would be more polite or natural?


Yes, you can. I would say that both are equally natural and equally polite (the lack of お and object particle is compensated by the switch to the more deferential おねがいします), though I'm not a native speaker.


mizu = water o-mizu = honorable water


Can i also say, mizu onegaishimasu? Is it also "water please?"


That should be acceptable. おねがいします can often be used interchangeably with ください when asking for things but is a bit more formal/polite.
this article has a nice breakdown of their subtle differences.


Why isn’t ”I want water" accepted?? I thought ください meant that you want something?


ください is roughly "please give me"; it is a request, asking someone else to give you water. "I want water" isn't really a request, it's simply a statement. Because you want something you might ask for someone to give it to you, but the action of requesting an item or favor is not the same as saying you want it.
"I want water" would be closer to お水が欲しいです using "hoshii" for 'water is wanted/desired'


When I hovered over を, it said "can i get" but it also said "object marker. Can someone please explain what the purpose of を was in this sentence?


を is the (direct) object marker, yes. It marks the thing that a verb is acting on. Here the object being given.
The phrase -をください is a humble request with ください meaning "please give me" or "please do for me".

So sentence construction here is (Object) (object marker) (Please give me)
お水 (water) を (object) ください (please give me)
"Please give me water", "Water please", "Can I have/get water"


What's the difference between using wo, ha, or ga?


を is the direct object marker, used with transitive verbs. When a verb does an action TO something you would use wo.
寿司を食べます - sushi (w)o tabemasu - I eat sushi - sushi is the thing being eaten

は is a topic marker. This is used when introducing a new topic and is often dropped if it is understood through context. When you see it think of it as "On the topic of...X" or "About...X". It can also be used to show contrast and in negative sentences. "I do not like X (but I like other things)"
が is the subject particle and stresses what comes before it. The subject is the thing doing/being the verb. Sometimes it is the same thing as the topic, but not always.

これペンです - kore wa pen desu - This is a pen - "On the topic of this thing - it is a pen" with Pen being the important information about "this thing" kore is a pen, not a different object.
これぺんです - kore ga pen desu - This is a pen - "This thing (is the thing that is) a pen" with "this" being stressed. This thing is the thing that is a pen, not that thing over there.

ジョンです - watashi wa John desu - I am John (About me - I am John). John is stressed. This can be shortened to a simple ジョンです if it is already understood you are talking about yourself.
ジョンです - Watashi ga John desu - "I (am the one who is) John" - "I" is stressed. There are multiple people and you're saying that you are John, not that other person.

(私)水飲みます- (watashi wa) mizu wo nomimasu - (I) drink water 私(水飲みます) - watashi ga (mizu wo nomimasu) - I am the one (who drinks water)
ください - mizu wo kudasai - please give (me) water
With both topic and subject:
(私)水好きです - (on the topic of me) water (is the thing) I like


so you can put "o" before any word to make it polite? or only certain words?


お is generally only added to nouns (or verb stems in some grammatical phrases), and even then it's only added to certain words. Some words can use the same kanji (御) but it's pronounced ご instead, and some (most) words simply sound unnatural to have any honorific prefix attached to them.


Would the を particle be placed after a noun as a specifier? To differentiate from any others of the same thing? (Would imply a need for context, like a pointing finger for example...)

I noticed how in the other questions, it would be used to say "This one" or "That one" but here, it's water which is hard to specify as One or Another because of its fluid nature. xD So it threw me off.


This has been answered many times on this discussion thread
を is the direct object particle that marks the thing that is being acted on. Here the action ください is a humble request form of "to give", so the water is the object being given.
寿司を食べます - sushi o tabemasu - (sushi) (object) (eat) - I eat sushi
お茶を飲みます - ocha o nomimasu - (tea) (object) (drink) - I drink tea
本を読みます - hon o yomimasu - (book) (object) (read) - I read a/the book
歌を歌います - uto o utaimasu - (song) (object) (sing) - I sing a song

The words これ、それ、あれ、are the parts that mean "this one", "that one" and "that one over there" in other questions. If you wanted to specify "this water" or "that water" you would use この水、その水、あの水 with この、その、あの being the descriptors of the water.


is ください polite enough to use it in any public situation ?


When is を as a particle used?


を only marks the direct object used with transitive verbs. Here ください means "give to me" or "do for me" acting on the object お水


I did not put the "o" を.


I wish I knew the difference in pronunciation between お and を (they both sound like ''o'' to me)


They are pronounced the same, they just function differently.
お is the standard hiragana for "o" sounds in words, while を is romanized as "wo", it is pronounced "o" when used as the direct object particle (and for this kana specifically it is pretty much exclusively used as a particle so it is always "o")
The same situation applies to わ and は. わ is the standard hiragana for "wa", は is the hiragana for "ha" but is pronounced "wa" when used as a topic particle.
え is "e", but へ "he" is "e" when used as a direction particle.


What does the を indicate in お水をください? When you hear the word pronounced you can hear all syllables except for the を. Does this indicate a pause or a doubling of the consonant like ツ or つ ? (in this case doubling a vowel, ''o'')

[deactivated user]

    that symbol is wo it is a hiragana . but when put in a sentence it is pronounced as o its use in a sentence indicats the action taken with the subject that is the reason ha( pronounced as wa when it is a particle ) is used in a negative sentence for ex i eat apple then wo will be used i don not eat apple then wa would be used


    を (wo, pronounced "o"), is used to indicate that the preceding noun is the direct object of the verb which follows. I know that may be a little tepid, so here's an example, taken directly from DL:

    彼女は僕の手紙を読みません。(かのじょうはぼくのてがみを よみません。) ”She does not read my letters."

    The direct object is "letters", to which the governing verb is "よみません", which means "does not read", considered to be a verb in Japanese. (If it makles it easier, you can just think of the verb as "read", though "yomimasen" has the opposite meaning (does not read).

    The point is that the direct object, "letters" is followed immediately by "を" and then the verb, so there is no guessing what the direct object is. This structure is typical of Japanese sentences. Ther are other ways of showing the direct object, so you won't see を in every sentence that has a direct object.

    (I'm sure there's a friendly moderator out there in case I got this wrong.)

    [deactivated user]

      why o is only put before water , tea or alcohol not before meat or fish or bread


      I don't understand the pronunciation of water, in Japanese of course: I understand only "o...".Who help me? Many, many thanks.


      お水 - おみず - o mizu

      水 (みず) - mizu is water

      But you must add お (O) before Mizu because water is meant to be honored. So it's 'o mizu'. Hope that helps!


      My uncle said "Omizu" is drinking water and "Mizu" is regular water


      When do you use を?


      If your wondering about the お at the start. The app i used to use before this had a lesson that was this 'お/ご = politeness prefix' meaning if you saw either one of these it was just for being polite i think.


      How is mizu generally written in hiragana or in kanji ????


      水 is the kanji character, pronouned mizu.

      If I am not mistaken, pitch accent falls on the first mora of two "mi". Hiragana would be みず. I've heard that it refers to cool, fresh, clean water to drink. On second glance I see this issue has already been addressed. Sorry for the duplication.

      And yes the お and ご particles are honorific. Water, green tea, your friend's parents ご両親, (ごりょうしん) , your own parents and many other things will deserve the honorific particle. Sake, rice, shop, lunch box お弁当 (おべんとう), and so on.

      What these special items or concepts that require the honorific particle need to be learned by experience, copying the pattern, pratice.


      What is the purpose of お in this sentencw


      Do you charge for water?

      Not typically, no...

      Then bring me your finest fancy water at once!

      One bucket full of clogged drain water, coming up.


      This answer is bugged out. It won't accept the correct answer. Don't feel bad if it happens to you as well.


      It helps if you can provide a screenshot here so we can see what your 'correct answer' was and why it may have been marked incorrect.
      If it is truly a bug you can submit it in a bug report


      If both the sign have the same meaning of 'o' then why it is considered wrong ? Please anyone clear my doubt


      お is the hiragana "o" and is used as an honorific prefix
      を is the hiragana "wo" which is pronounced "o" when used as a direct object particle. (Much like how は is the hiragana "ha" but is pronounced "wa" when used as a topic/contrast particle and へ is "he" but pronounced "e" when used as a direction particle.)

      They serve different grammatical functions and are not interchangeable.
      They have the same pronunciation but not the same meaning.


      What is the function of お and をgive me the specific reason plsss...


      お is an honorific prefix used to make a word more polite. お水 has a nuance of clean drinkable water in a glass, as opposed to just 水 water in general.

      を is the direct object particle and marks the noun that a verb is acting on.
      ください is the imperative form of the humble verb "to give (me)". Most literally this sentence is a polite "Give me water" with the verb "give" acting on the noun "water".

      Make sure to check the comments, this has been discussed a bit on this page already.


      I put it in exactly as the awnser and it said was wrong


      O mizu o kuddasai is right then why did you say wrong ?


      Duo doesn't accept romaji answers (note that it's "kudasai" not "kuddasai" as that would be spelled and pronounced differently)
      If it was a translating question "Water, please" or "Please give me water"
      If it was a listening question お水をください


      why it wont accept my answer "o mizu o kudasai"??


      same question answered a few hours ago on this same page

      Duo doesn't accept romaji answers
      If it was a translating question "Water, please" or "Please give me water"
      If it was a listening question お水をください


      My answer is "o mizu o kudasai" but its say "wrong answer" and saying correct answer is "o mizu o kudasai" , it's already my answer , what's going on here?


      Was that your exact answer? If so; Duo does not accept romaji.
      If it was a listening 'type what you hear' question you need to answer in Japanese お水をください
      If it was a translation "write this in English" question it should be "Water, please" or "Please give me water"

      Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.