Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 1: 22/22


(Please) try to, (Please) look


Verb[て]+ ごらん
Verb[て]+ ごらんなさい


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About てごらん

てご(らん) is an honorific language expression in Japanese that is used in a similar way to なさい. It is usually translated as 'please try to (A)', where (A) is the verb that ご(らん) is connected to, through the use of the conjunction particle て.
  • この(ほん)()でごらんこの(ほん)()んだら日本(にほん)について色々(いろいろ)(まな)べるよ。
    Try reading this book. If you read it, you will learn various things about Japan.
  • (そと)()てごらん(にじ)()ているよ。
    Look outside. There is a rainbow.
However, despite being translated as 'please try to (A)', the literal meaning of (らん) is 'to look', or 'to peruse' (to look at one's own leisure, without needing to rush). Due to this, てごらん can be thought of as being quite similar to てみる 'to try', but with the added emphasis of 'try as you like, when it suits you'.
As ご(らん) is honorific language, it cannot be used to refer to your own actions, or things that you will 'try'. It will only ever be used to make suggestions to other people about what they should try.
  • これ()てごらん。あなただったら絶対(ぜったい)()(おも)よ。
    Try eating this. If it's you, I think you'll definitely like it.
Sometimes ごらん and なさい will be paired together. This slightly increases the strength of the suggestion, and may be perceived as a very light command. Because of this, ごらんなさい is primarily used by superiors/elders, when requesting that a subordinate/younger person try something.
  • ()てごらんなさい。こんな(ひど)いことネットかかれたんだよ、(ひど)くない
    Look at this. Someone wrote something this cruel on the internet. Don't you think this is awful?




    (Try to) take a look at that scenery.


    Try studying grammar you haven't learned yet.


    (Try to) take a look at the news. You are on TV.


    Try to catch that butterfly.


    (Try to) give me your hands. I will put your gloves on.

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てごらん – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • trevor_fengel


    I’m confused why an elder might use this grammar. If 御覧なさい is considered an honorific and elderly are 目上 why would they be the ones using this?

  • nekoyama


    なさい in general isn’t normally used with people of higher status. It’s originally respectful language, but so is 食べる, so that alone doesn’t mean much.

    Nowadays なさい is typically used by parents or teachers etc. (outside some set expressions like おやすみなさい or ごめんなさい that have their own rules).

    ごらん sounds more fancy than みて so people who like fancy language, i.e. old people, might prefer it for that reason.

    Also keep in mind that this is a way to give commands. You have to be in a position to give commands to use it.

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