Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 9: 1/13

Let's, Shall we (polite volitional)

Verb[ます+ ましょう
Part of Speech Auxiliary Verb
Word Type Dependent Word
Register Polite
品詞 助動詞
単語の種類 付属語
使用域 敬語
ましょう is one of the conjugations of the auxiliary verb ます, and is a common (polite) way to suggest that something be done ‘together’ (when used with a verb). It is often translated as ‘let’s (A)’, or ‘shall we (A)?’. To use ましょう, we will simply need to change ます to ましょう, when conjugating the verb.
  • モール行(い)きましょう
    Let's go to the mall!
  • 踊(おどり)りましょう
    Shall we dance? (Said with a rising tone to indicate that it is a question)
Despite regularly being translated as ‘shall we (A)?’, ましょう does not specifically target another person, and can also be used as a declaration that (A) will be done/needs to be done. This use reflects the base meaning of ましょう, which is the polite volitional form (deliberately/purposefully doing something).
  • 5キロ痩(や)せましょう
    I will lose 5 kg! (I shall do it!)
In this example, the speaker is expressing to themselves that they ‘will’ do something, and are strongly resolved to make it happen (similar to ‘I shall’ in English).
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Let’s play soccer.
Let’s eat sushi at this restaurant.
Let’s eat.
Genki I
Page 103
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 135
みんなの日本語 I
Page 44 [CH 6]
みんなの日本語 II
Page 48 [CH 32]
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 151
Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 13