This is a discussion topic for the N4 Lesson 7 reading passages.
I know that ないです and ありません are equivalent, but I noticed in these N4 L7 readings there’s a lot more use of ないです than I’m used to.
メニューを見させてもらえないですか？ 他にはないですか？ 申し訳ないです。
Is there a trend that I don’t know about? (eg. more commonly used in certain regions or among different age groups?)
In the context of the reading passage, ないです sounds more natural since this is not a super formal setting. Also when talking to a server, it is common to be polite, but not ありませんか polite, as it would seem a bit stiff, unless you are in a super fancy restaurant. This does not mean people don’t use ありませんか, but just less common in these kind of situations.
That makes sense but what about the other direction? From the last two readings, the 店員 says…
Is this normal? Would it still sound normal if the server is 20 yrs old and the customer is 60 yrs old? (In particular, I’ve always heard servers say to my friends and family 申し訳ありませんでした.)
The first two I have heard being used frequently in a restaurant setting even though it is not the politest way of saying it. As for the the third one, this one is common, but it will most likely result in the server being chewed out by an older customer if they are having a bad day. 申し訳ないです sounds a little friendly/casual with some politeness, compare to 申し訳ございません or 申し訳ありません, so although it is okay to use 申し訳ないです, it will be best to use 申し訳ございません or 申し訳ありません to apologize to a customer.
Interesting! That helps. Thank you for your insight!