"まどをあけませんか。"

Translation:Why don't we open the window?

June 19, 2017

94 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stallya

Seeing this after "please take a shower immediately", I'm starting to feel kind of hurt

July 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mehgumi

Isn't this the same as "wont you open the window"? Its a polite request.

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hiba226886

Yes

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

"~masen ka?" is an invitation form, so you could technically invite someone to open the window, but that's not really what "won't you open the window?" is conveying to an English speaker. It sounds more like a request rather than an invitation.

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sihaz

don't agree - it's actually very polite english

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

For me as an American, saying "won't you open the window?" sounds like an order, albeit made polite by phrasing it as a question rather than a statement. The Japanese is an invitation to do something, and an invitation is not an order. That was the point I was trying to make, sorry if I phrased it poorly.

April 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

We may very well have lived in different parts of the United States, but to me, "won't you open a window?" sounds like a polite request. It could, indeed, be an invitation: "Won't you have dinner with us Thursday?"

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

I guess what I am not clear on is why you would be inviting someone to open a window? Saying "won't you have dinner with us on Thursday?" is clearly you inviting someone somewhere to share a meal. What does the person get out of opening the window? Maybe they're hot, but why do they need an invitation to open the window? If you say "won't you open the window?", you want the window open. They are doing it for you, not for them. Even if the English is the same words, it's not the same meaning to me.

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

An invitation, in that case, provides permission. If it is my house or office, or if I am in some other position of authority, "won't you open a window?" is, indeed, a polite request or an invitation. I could certainly see saying that to a student, for instance, though I never open windows in classrooms, as I find the noise distracting.

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

I see what you're saying and that's a good point (I've improved my English haha). But the Japanese isn't giving permission. I can't express it well, but I recommend reading Maggie-sensei.

Now let’s add a question mark,?.

東京に行かない?

= Touyou ni ikanai?

It is not a negative sentence. It means,

“Do you want to go to Tokyo with me?”

“Why don’t we go Tokyo!”

Note: Stress the last verb with rising intonation when you read it.

Polite form : You add “か ( = ka) after ません ( = masen)

:u:

東京に行きませんか?

= Toukyou ni ikimasen ka?

= Would you like to go to Tokyo with me?

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BJCUAl

Apparently not, because that answer was rejected!!!

December 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

After listening to other people's opinions and thinking about the grammar a bit, I can see why this translation would work, but I don't think it's the best translation. If you were to ask "won't you open the window?" politely in Japanese, it would be best to say 窓を開けてくれませんか? (mado o akete kuremasen ka) or to ratchet up the politeness 窓を開けていただけませんか (mado o akete itadakemasen ka). Asking 窓を開けませんか (mado o akemasen ka) gives me more of a feeling that the asker will actually open the window, or if we're in a room with many windows that need to be opened, that we'll do it together.

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Okappys

あなたの言った、”窓を開けていただきませんか ”は、少し違いました。

”窓を開けていただけませんか?”と、お願いするのが良いと思います。

参考になれば、、、(^^)/

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

ああ、どうして私はちゃんと「くます」と書いて、「いただます」と書いてしまいましたかな。参考になりました。ほんとうにありがとうございます 。

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Okappys

どういたしまして。あなたはDuoで私の友だちですから、、(^^♪

August 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Joe264823

But for me it sounds also more like an order disguised as a request

February 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chaostrophy

I tried "Can't I open the window?" but that wasn't accepted. I think if the accepted translation is not literal anyway, then my conversational translation should work too.

July 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KyrokiKaze

This sentence is very vague and context is necessary to distinguish the actual meaning.

June 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

The context is that when using "~masen ka?", you're extending an invitation.

[Edit for clarification on using "~masen ka" as an invitation:

PuniPuni Japanese:

Today we learned how to extend an invitation in Japanese using the negative question form of the verb 〜ませんか (~masen ka).

From E-Japanese:

Meaning: Won’t you – , How about – , Wouldn’t you -, It’s an invitation.

From Shogunate Japanese:

masen (ません) is just the Polite Negative Form of a verb. So for example 食 たべる would become 食たべません in Polite Negative Form. Make sure you know how to change a verb into -ます Form.

ka (か) is the sentence ending particle that signals that the sentence is a question. It basically acts the same as the “?” in English.

When you put these together it creates a phrase that would roughly translate to something like “Do you not want to …”?

In Japanese this is the way that you actually invite someone to do something.

From CosCom:

Adding masen ka? or mashoo ka? to the stem of a verb makes an invitation or a suggestion. The masen ka? pattern and the mashoo ka? pattern can be used in many different contexts, such as inviting a friend to watch a movie or have a meal together.

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RhettAultm

So, what about situations where you actually do need to ask if someone isn't or won't do something? It seems a little hard to do that if "-masen ka" is always an invitation.

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASleepingRock

Uninvited 2nd opinion coming!

No, "~masen ka" is not just used to exclusively extend invitations, but it most often is. It seems to be based on our favorite c word. Consider the following

(きみは)リンゴを食べませんか (will you not eat the apple?)

Depending on the context we can interpet that to either ask why you won't eat the apple, or an invitation to eat the apple. In most contexts, I would default to the latter translation. Context is king though, especially considering the next one.

神を信じていませんか? (do you not believe in God?)

A bit dramatic, but I would not translate this as an invitation to believe in God. Instead, it would be asked as if the person's beliefs were already known and the asker wanted to confirm what he thought he knew/suspects. Despite all of this though, I would say the affirmative version of the sentence would be more common than the negative...

If you want to ask why someone won't do something, then you would throw on なぜ on the beginning and then it becomes "why won't X do~". You can also use the past negative form of a verb with a 2nd person pronoun for "you didn't do...?"

Notice how all of these examples use 2nd person pronouns as the subject? The pattern for extending invitations don't hold up once you start using 3rd person pronouns.

(彼は)リンゴを食べませんか?(will he not eat the apple?)

For all I know though, it could be a very undirect way of inviting someone to eat an apple though... it is Japanese after all!

As far as I can tell, "~masen ka" would not be used with 1st person pronouns.

Uninvited 2nd opinion out

July 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

Japanese grammar and English grammar are not the same, and applying the rules of English negative questions to Japanese negative questions does not work.

From Maggie-sensei:

東京に行かない?

= Touyou ni ikanai?

It is not a negative sentence. It means, “Do you want to go to Tokyo with me?” “Why don’t we go Tokyo!”

Let’s look at your examples.

(きみは)リンゴを食べませんか (will you not eat the apple?)

Depending on the context we can interpret that to either ask why you won't eat the apple, or an invitation to eat the apple.

Rather than context, what you need is の to tell whether something is an invitation or a question about why you are not doing something.

From Wasabi:

When you use volitional verbs such as “食たべる: to eat” and “行いく: to go,” in negative questions, you have to use the quotation marker の. This is because the form: “食たべない (Won’t [you] eat [it])?” can be interpreted as inviting

食べませんか? > Won't you eat it? (an offer, an invitation to eat)

食べないのですか? > You're not eating it?

神を信じていませんか? (do you not believe in God?)

I agree that this is not an invitation because it is the ~ていませんか form, not ~ませんか form.

If you want to ask why someone won't do something, then you would throw on なぜ on the beginning and then it becomes "why won't X do~". You can also use the past negative form of a verb with a 2nd person pronoun for "you didn't do...?"

From a Japanese site explaining how to use “why don’t you”:

なぜあなたは~しないか?

From a Japanese native explaining the sentence “why won’t you let me do it”:

なぜ私にそれをやらせてくれないですか?

You need の to change the meaning from an invitation to a question of why.

(彼は)リンゴを食べませんか?(will he not eat the apple?)

I have often been in situations where I am with a Japanese friend, and we meet another Japanese person who speaks to me through my friend rather than talking directly to me. I have been offered food in this way, with the person asking my friend 彼女は食べませんか (kanojo wa tabemasen ka), so I disagree that it can’t be used in the third person.

I agree it would not be used as an invitation in the first person. I think the grammar would not be used in the first person, period, but I’m interested to know if it could be and if anyone has any examples.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

Japanese and English are just very different languages and you can't always express things the same way. I think even as an invitation, though, "~masen ka?" could still work in some contexts.

明日一緒に行きませんか?

Ashita issho ni ikimasen ka?

Won't you go with me tomorrow?

You're inviting someone, but can also be asking this to confirm whether or not they're going.

I know in a casual setting you can say ~ないの? (~nai no?) to ask "aren't you ~?"

明日来ないの?

Ashita konai no?

Aren't you coming tomorrow?

[Edit for clarification from Imabi:

When ka か follows -nai desu ないです, the resultant question translates to “is it not…” When one is rather certain of the answer being the affirmative, this pattern stays as in. However, when there is any degree of doubt, the particle no の usually intervenes. In conversation, the particle no の is often contracted to n ん in this pattern, resulting in -nai n desu ka ないんですか?

夕食ゆうしょくを食たべないのですか。

Yūshoku wo tabenai no desu ka?

Are you not going to have dinner?

End of edit]

April 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RhettAultm

Maybe my confusion would work better with an example from my daily life.

Me: "Turn everything off before putting chemicals in the pool." Wife: "I Just put chemicals in the pool." Me: "You don't turn off the pump?"

In this scenario, I'm asking if someone doesn't do something. It comes up a lot in my life, especially since a lot of my job involves following certain procedures.

Is there really no grammatical structure to ask that sort of question without it being an invitation? Is there no "don't/won't" distinction afforded by the grammar?

April 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

I think 消さないの (kesanai no?) would work for that situation (you don't turn it off?).

I recommend reading Maggie-sensei.

April 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbreddit

Personally it feels like far too much freedom in this interpretation. Especially when something like 'Open the window, wouldn't you?' would be more accurate.

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamScott794079

Yoda if you are (or aparantly a native speaker of japanese who has not yet mastered word order in english but knows individual words pretty well)

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/animatrix1490

I believe it would be "If Yoda you are" :)

February 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben813848

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you're from the US? I'm American as well, but I've lived in Australia for about 10 years, and I can say that this sentence structure is normal for British-English speakers; although I would say, "Open the window, won't you?" is more typical: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv117.shtml

December 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/azureviolin

窓を開けませんか。

August 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tobiasasma

Yes. And in some other translations doulingo is far too picky about words that has the same meaning, as in why cant we use 'seat' instead of 'chair', cant use 'quickly' for 'early', etc..

June 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Abdurrahma155121

The です on every ending quite annoys me too

June 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BjrnReynis

Desu is what's called a copula-verb, since japanese grammar demands a verb in every sentence. It's kind of like the the "it's" in "it's raining". An english sentence demands a subject even when there is none the same way a japanese demands a verb. All japanese say it, either as as だ, です, である, であります or a fullblown, super formal ではあります.

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/starsprung

You definitely don't need だ and you don't need a verb. There are zero copula sentences in Japanese. A noun or adjective by itself can be a sentence in casual speech and if you put だ at the end of every sentence you will sound like you're being more forceful or rough.

December 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASleepingRock

Forgot ございます and でござる! Samurai-ben!

July 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamScott794079

Really? I love that, and the object markers like ha and ni. Unless you actually know some Japanese and no one ends sentences with dis.

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/YTSChan

I think what he means is not it will be omitted for native speaker, but the fact it always use polite form?

July 6, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RebeccaW209814

" Shall I open the window?" is a perfectly fine translation .

August 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

窓を開けましょうか。

Mado o akemashou ka?

Shall I/we open the window?

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FranStalli

But Duo wouldn't accept it.

December 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DarrienBus

Is there any reason why "why don't we open A window" is incorrect?

September 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Edward282556

I put "why not open a window?" and it was counted as wrong. Our answers are correct, so just flag it and hopefully it'll be fixed. "(Verb)-masenka" is literally just translated as "Why not (verb)?"

December 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darthoctopus

窓は開けませんか

July 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

Where is the why here? If this is why, how would one say "Don't you open the window?"

June 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tara166383

The "why" is not literally asking why you are opening the window; it would be the equivalent of "How about we open the window?"

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

So, how would I ask whether you were opening the window?

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hiba226886

窓を開けていますか? まどをあけていますか mado wo akete imasu ka 'are you opening the window'

June 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTWils

Ah, of course, with that progressive construction. Thank you.

June 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kristi754702

I think the most accurate translation here should be: "Won't you open the door?"

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/testmoogle

Why don't we open the window?

Really? This is Duo's default translation of this sentence? How many people does it take to open one window? :P

July 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamScott794079

Is the "we" to which it wants you to translate it essentially "one"?

June 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

Not quite; the subject is implied in the Japanese sentence, so it could be "I" or "we" or "you". It's basically a polite way to request that something be done (rather than command it).

July 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Laura209845

So, 窓を開けてください is not how to politely request? I thought using the negative form like this was generally invitational. Like saying Should I open the window? or Would you like to open the windows?

July 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

Both forms are requests, of various levels of formality. 窓を開けてください is a more direct (and thus less "polite"/formal) request than まどをあけませんか.

This article has a chart with the various request forms in decreasing order of politeness, as well as some explanations: http://maggiesensei.com/2016/05/19/how-to-ask-for-a-favor-make-a-request/

A direct link to the chart, for convenience: http://maggiesensei.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/tekurerumorauchart.jpg

July 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LilPorker

-ましょう might be better in situations like this.

July 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CheesyCakeu

How would you say "Isn't the window open?" then?

August 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

窓は開いていませんか

Mado wa aite imasen ka?

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john990735

Politely, 窓は開けていませんですか

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john990735

Simple, replace を with は ex. 窓は開けないですか

February 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xonok

The line you don't want to hear when you're in a vampire movie.

September 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/inho93

I wrote: why not opening the window? Wanted to test if i get accepted or not. But didn't accept it

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/testmoogle

"Why not opening the window?" isn't grammatically correct English anyway. It doesn't mean anything. Not sure what your reason was for wanting to test that particular answer.

"Why not open the window?" might be one of the accepted answers though.

October 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HalfPurr

Probably inko93 means "why not open…" but I tested this, got marked wrong.

April 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

It recommended to me "Why do not I open the window?" ...what kind of English is that...

October 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MattSpano2

I disagree with the translation..

I think it should be: "Won't you open the window?"

No where does this imply we.. and since when was opening a window a team effort?

August 30, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

~ませんか is an invitation to do something, usually together.

Suggested translations from a Japanese site explaining how to say ~ませんか in English:

1. Would you like to

Would you like to have dinner with me?

(夜ご飯、一緒に行きませんか?)

2. Do you want to

Do you want to play soccer on Sunday?

(日曜日にサッカーしない?)

3. Why don’t we

Why don’t we eat lunch?

(お昼食べない?)

In Japanese, the speaker is inviting the listener to do something when they ask ~ませんか. My classroom gets very hot in the summer. I ask the students how they are, and when the majority of them yell "hot!" I turn to my co-teacher and ask 窓を開けませんか (mado o akemasen ka). We both go and open some windows. When I ask him this, if I just stood there staring at him, waiting for only him to open the windows, he would be confused. If I wanted him to open the windows, I would say 窓を開けてくれませんか (mado wo akete kuremasen ka) or something similar to make a request that he do it without me.

August 31, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JadenPotatoes

If the translation is "Why we don't open the door?" , why the phrase in Japanese is not 私たち(わたしたち)は窓(まど)を開(あ)けませんか。? It's to literal translate on this way?

July 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

The subject is often implied rather than explicit in Japanese. It's usually understood based on context, but since there's no subject specified here, a variety of translations should be accepted.

July 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vitaoTM

I don't understand where is the "we" on this frase

July 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V2Blast

The subject is implied in the Japanese sentence, so it could be "I" or "we" or "you". It's basically a polite way to request that something be done (rather than command it). See the discussion elsewhere in this thread.

July 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/R0dluvan

Duo prefers "Why don't we open the window?", but I would have thought a Japanese person would say "mado wo akemashou" for that - no?

August 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

That would be "let's open the window", or if you add か at the end, "shall we open the window?"

March 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AngelaHugh13

Would "Shall I open the window?" also work? It does in English, but not sure about Japanese.

November 1, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASleepingRock

"Shall" has its own pattern in Japanese. To say "shall I open the window", you would say 窓を開けましょうか. Has generally the same effect as the intended meaning in ths question.

August 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chaostrophy

The translation isn't as literal as ましょう always indicating "shall," and the ませんか question phrasing can absolutely translate with "shall."

For example: いっしょにたべませんか。 Let's eat together, shall we?

This question could be answered with ましょう form: ええ、行きましょう! Yes, let's go!

Note that this translation is correct but does not include the word "shall."

The ましょう form is harder to refuse, more of an assumption of acceptance from the start.

August 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASleepingRock

Hmm... I see your point, but it's because of that last point that I would have to disagree. According to my WordWeb app (which is based off of the Chambers Dictionary), it defines shall as "expressing a demand or an assertion" with an example sentence of "you shall do your homework". That sort of assumption is definitely there with ましょう. "~ませんか" is too soft to be using "shall" and "let's".

If we take a look at the example sentence you provided (一緒に食べませんか?), we would see the phrase "Let us" (from let's) appear. That seems to be also expressing an assertion as well. Because of that, I would be more apt to translate the sentence as "Won't you eat together with me?" instead of "Let's eat...", especially since we would have to end that same sentence with "shall we?" and express an assertion.

They are very similar, and most grammar books that I have suggest them as very similar expressions. They always do assert that there is a difference between the two however. The following is from "A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar" by Seiichi Makino and Michio Tsutsui under the related expression notes for ~ましょう:


「An invitation by the speaker can also be expressed through the negative question, as in [1].

[1] パーチィーに 行きませんか。 Pātī ni ikimasen ka (Wouldn't you (like to) go to the party?)

In invitation situations, negative questions are more polite than mashou - sentences because the former [~ませんか] are asking whether or not the hearer will do something and, therefore, are hearer-oriented, while the latter [~ましょうか] do not consider the hearer's volition and are more speaker-oriented.」


With all this being said and done, words like "shall" and "let's" generally fall under the ~ましょう umbrella because of the assertion that it expresses. That is why I don't think the original sentence in this question can be answered by "Shall I open the window?"

August 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kristi754702

Why the translation has "would" in it, as this is not a sentence in a potencial construction... And not to mention why... It should be "Won't you (I, we, whatever) open the window?"

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dinhhoainam998

I do not open the window. Wrong?

November 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IsolaCiao

The "ka" at the end tells you that it's a question.

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BachHip

I answered "Shall we open the window". Is it okay?

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/krislalev

Is "Shouldn't we open the window" also correct? It was marked wrong.

October 2, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/asaph.neig

I don't think this should be "why don't we open a window" but "should we open a window" or something... One could answer a "why" question with a viable answer (because it's stuck/because bugs will get it/because Jimmy said so) and I don't think the Japanese sentence invites this kind of response.

March 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John863934

Because there are mosquitoes outside.

June 24, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaynardHogg

Why don't we open the window? Could you open the window (for me)?

June 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Eli-aiki

If someone says their room always gets too hot, I might say "Don't you open the window?" or "You don't open the window?" This Japanese sentence seems to correspond to that meaning, but such translation is not accepted.

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mangaheld

Why doesn't "don't you open the window?" work? This is literally what the sentence is saying. There is no "why" in the sentence.

April 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lori138734

can someone explain why this isn't, "didnt you open the window?" How would you say that differently? Just want to understand! Thanks!

February 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Swisidniak

"didn't you" indicates that the action is already done/is past-tense. This would take the negative past-tense -ませんでした ending
窓を開けませんでしたか (Window)(Was not opened)(?) "Didn't you open the window?"

February 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaynardHogg

窓を開けませんか?Rejected! No fourth reporting button.

June 29, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SheenaBastet

Don't you open the window ? Not correct?

July 21, 2019
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