Wild Nihongo!


ましょう Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary verb ending

Essential Meaning: Let’s do X / I’ll do X / We’ll do X


  • Verb ます-Form + ましょう
    • E.g. はなしましょう [Let’s speak / I will speak]
    • E.g. べましょう [Let’s eat / I will speak]


  • ましょう is a very common polite volitional verb ending that expresses a volitional invitation (“Let’s do X“) or conveys one’s personal volition (“I will do X“). In invitational situations, the subject is typically omitted.
    • E.g. Invitation: きましょう。[Let’s go.]
    • E.g. Personal volition わたしかれはなしましょう。[I will talk to him.]
  • In certain contexts, ましょう can be used to extend an invitation to help someone (i.e. “Let me do X for you” or “I’ll do X for you“).
    • E.g. そのカバンをちましょう。[I’ll carry that bag.]
    • E.g. つだいましょう。[I’ll help you.]
  • By appending the interrogative particle , the meaning of ましょう becomes clearly invitational (i.e. “Shall we do X?“). You can make an invitation even more polite by using a negative interrogative form.
    • E.g. きましょうか。[Shall we go?]
    • E.g. きませんか。[Wouldn’t you like to go?] This is extra polite.
  • Negative volition (e.g. “I won’t do X“) is typically expressed through a simple nonpast verb ending or through special grammatical structures such as まいとおもう or つもり.
    • E.g. きません。[I’m not going.]
    • E.g. くまいとおもう。[I think that I will not go.]
    • E.g. くつもりはない。[I don’t intend to go.]
  • Invitational negative volition (e.g. “Let’s not do X“) can be expressed in a couple of ways:
    • (1) Verb informal + のはやめましょう / よしましょう (i.e. “Let’s stop doing X“)
      • E.g. パーティーにくのはやめましょう。[Let’s not go to the party. (i.e. Let’s cancel the idea of going to the party).]
      • E.g. パーティーにくのはよしましょう。[Let’s not go to the party (Let’s cancel the idea of going to the party).]
    • (2) Verb negative stem + ないでおきましょう (i.e. “Let’s leave X undone“)
      • E.g. マークにはわないでおきましょう。[Let’s not tell Mark (i.e. Let’s leave the idea of telling Mark undone).]
  • In indirect volitional speech (e.g. when quoting someones volitional statement or when conveying hearsay about someone’s volition with verbs such as おもう [To think] or う [To say]), the informal volitional form is used (e.g. よう, rather than ましょう)
    • E.g. 村田むらたさんはコーヒーをもうとった。[Murata-san said that we should go drink coffee.] In this example, the informal volitional form もう is used.
    • E.g. わたし来年らいねん日本にほんこうとおもいます。[I think I will go to Japan next year.] In this example, the informal volitional form こう is used.
  • To express a future volition (e.g. “I will do X in the future“), ようと can be used.
    • E.g. わたし映画えいがようとおもう。[I think I will see a movie (in the future).]

Example Sentences:

わたしかれはなしましょう。[I will talk to him.]

映画えいがきましょう。[Let’s go to a movie.]

わたしたちがきましょうか。[Shall we go?]

ビールをみましょう。[Let’s drink beer.]

くるまきましょうか[Shall we go by car?]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 0:17: なべいためて、グツグツにましょう [Let’s sauté it in a pot and simmer it gently]

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