Power Up Your いい

Another short Wednesday post due to job interviews.

Mastering Japanese can sometimes be as simple as mastering the ladder of politeness – remembering which phrases are used for those high on the ladder and which are used for those lower on the ladder.

いい, as I mentioned last Friday, is often used to either ask permission or refuse something. It’s common courtesy to ask someone, 「いいですか。」 before you sit down next to them. (Notice how I didn’t use a question mark in that sentence. This is something else you should just get used to – you don’t need question marks all the time in Japanese.)

You can power up your いい by turning it into よろしい. This is a polite way to say いい. You can also power up your ですか by turning it into でしょうか. So here’s a little ladder for you.

よろしいでしょうか。
よろしいですか。
いいですか。
いい?/いいの? (My spider sense tells me that this last one is all about the intonation and that will be easier to be understood as a question if you add the の.)

That’s in order of most polite to most casual. Notice that, as usual, the more syllables a phrase has, the more polite it is.

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