ます

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Japanese[edit]

Noun[edit]

ます (romaji masu)

  1. , , , : a square wooden measuring cup
  2. : a trout
  3. マス: a mass (as in a crowd or lump)

Verb[edit]

ます (romaji masu)

  1. 益す, 増す: to increase
  2. 在す, 坐す: to be (honorific; rare)
  3. 申す: to speak
  4. 摩す, 磨す: to rub, scrub, polish, chafe

Etymology[edit]

The -ます ending is generally believed to have come from the Old Japanese auxiliary verb mawirasuru (mairasuru: to humbly do something for a superior; idiomatic use arising from the causative conjugation of 参る (mairu)) → marasurumassurumasurumasu.

Suffix[edit]

ます (romaji masu)

  1. expresses politeness toward and distance from the listener: vaguely similar to the social context indicated by the usted verb conjugation in Spanish, the vous conjugation in French, or the Sie conjugation in German
Conjugation[edit]

Other forms not attested.

Usage notes[edit]

Connects to the continuative form (連用形 (ren'yōkei)) of a verb and inflects partially like type 1 verbs. The imperative forms are only used with honorific verbs, e.g. いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase), なさいませ (nasaimase), 下さいませ (kudasaimase). The perfective has an irregular negative form ませんでした (masen deshita); the hypothetical conditional is rare. The old dictionary form まする is still sometimes used. When there is a choice, attaches last: e.g. polite passive is 話されます (hanasaremasu), not 話しまされる (*hanashimasareru).

Alternative forms[edit]
See also[edit]