Mashou - How to make invitations and say let's go in Japanese


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In Japanese, we use a verbal form to indicate that we want to perform an action with another person. The let's go in Japanese is expressed with the endings mashou, masenka, you and some others that we will analyze in depth in this article.

Using the Mashou form to say let's go

Some beginner handouts translate the mashou verb form [ましょう] simply as "let's go". This is actually one of the easiest and simplest ways to understand and translate verbs in that form. However, the idea that the mashou passes is deeper.

In Japanese this is called volitional form and it can indicate the willingness to do something, an invitation, intention, choice, solution and others. So depending on the verb or form that appears in the sentence, your idea or translation into Portuguese may be different.

There is a small pun on words. The volitional form is called ikoukei [意向形], being that we will in Japanese is ikou [行こう]. So literally the volitional form would be let's go shape? [形 = shape];

To invite anyone to take an action, we simply change the but u [ます] por mashou [ましょう]. And if the verb is not in the form but u? See below how to conjugate each type of verb to give the idea of let's go:

  • Verbs ending in U [う] - Change the last vowel to OR [おう];
  • Verbs ending in IRU [いる] or ERU [える] - Change the UK [る] por YOU [よう];
  • Irregular verbs like [する] and [来る] are in the tables below;
行きましょうIkimashouWe will
食べましょうTabemashouLet's eat
会いましょうAimashouLet's meet
話そうHanasouLet's talk
待とうKilledLet's wait
見ようMiyouLet's watch / see
しょうShouLet's do it
来ようKoyouCome on

Realize that shou it's basically doing something. So the idea of the termination or form shou [しょう] has a connection with the verb to make suru [する]. Especially because the volitional form is an invitation to do or perform an action.

There are other expressions like deshou [でしょう] and gave [だろう] that apparently are in volitional form, but their meaning has nothing to do with we will, but with uncertainty or maybe.

Mashou - como fazer convites e dizer vamos em japonês

masenka - Making invitations using questions

When using the mashou [ましょう] you may be inviting or confirming an action. If you want to make it clear that it is an invitation, that you need to have the listener’s answer, you can turn that expression into a question “We will?" using the mashouka [ましょうか]. This may give the impression that you are offering to do something, and you need confirmation from the listener.

Another way to invite the person to do something is to use masenka. When we conjugate verbs with masenka [ませんか] we are holding an invitation, asking if the person wants to do a certain thing.

Other ways to express let's go in Japanese

When you are undecided about a certain action, you can use the kana [かな] to show that you do not know what we are going to do, in the hope of someone giving an opinion. Ikoukana [行こうかな] could give the idea of “Are we going?“;

Ikuzo [行くぞ] and ikouze [行こうぜ] are other informal ways of saying let's go in Japanese. These particles used at the end of the verb iku [行く] are often used by men and convey the idea of certainty and affirmation.

In certain situations say leave [さあ] can indicate the idea of let's go, come with me, continue, come on, let's see, here we go and others. Saa doesn't always have a grammatical meaning. Sometimes it is just a variant or complement.

Mairimashou [参りましょう] - A type of Vamos derived from the verb mairu [参る], a humble version of the verb “to go” but which, in essence, can convey other ideas.

I hope this article has helped you to say let's go in the Japanese language. If you liked the article, share it with friends or leave your comments.