Today we see together 3 Japanese verbal structures with their variants that express duties and prohibitions, and they are:
These expressions are very common to express things opportune and inopportune, what is more appropriate and socially accepted and what is best avoided.
なければならない - Duty, necessity
One of the commonly used forms that translate the verb
must is なければならない or なければいけない.
- なければ is the conditional form of ない (negative plain form of ある
to be) if not there
- ならない is the negative plain form of なる
if it's not there, it doesn't become, which translates as must be
How なければならない is formed
The negative plain form is used: in the suffix ない the vowel い is omitted and ければならない is added.
- Verb: 行く,
- Adjective in い, 寒い,
- Noun: 規則,
- Adjective in な: 静かな,
silent: the particle な is omitted and the adjective behaves like a noun
なければならない - Needs and obligations
This form generally expresses
duties relating to actions or things both of the person speaking and also when referring to other people.
The two keywords in this context are 義務 obligation, duty, and 必要, need.
When to use ならない and when いけない
As you have noticed, we have two final verbs: ならない and いけない which we will also find in other forms. The distinction we are describe here below also applies to the other cases:
- ならない is the negative form of なる
to becomeand is used in social, community contexts, the things that are deemed appropriate or not socially
It is also used when discussing laws and regulations. ならない is more formal than いけない.
社会常識: "is common sense"
In Japan, when you enter a Japanese house, you must remove your shoes.
- いけない is used for personal matters and is often found in ordinary and informal conversation
個人的なこと things, personal matters
Tomorrow I have to wake up at 6.
いけない is also used individually to express judgment, condemnation of someone or something, displeasure or even dislike. Different nuances depending on the situation.
It's not good, I overslept.
It seems he's sick, I'm so sorry.
Abbreviations and colloquial variants
The form in informal contexts is found in a number of ways:
- simply なければ omitting the rest
- なきゃ instead of なければ
- なくちゃ instead of なければ
I need to return the money to my friend.
I have to study a lot.
なければいけない in an informal and colloquial context: audio and explanations
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なくてはならない - Prohibitions
なくてはならない and なくてはいけない express a
prohibition, they are used in the context of
なくてはならない and なくてはいけない can also be used to express situations of
essential things that cannot be done without.
How なくてはならない is formed
In this structure we simply find the te form of the verb combined with はならない or はいけない.
Questions not to ask in an interview.
Things prohibited in Japan.
禁止 is the word that indicates the prohibition, not allowed
do not enter
We must respect the speed limit.
Example with the adjective 勤勉な
You students must be diligent.
You must do as I say.
Note in the two sentences the use of 君 kimi which indicates the second person
you and is used between friends and by people who are in a superior social position compared to the interlocutor.
なくてはならない - Indispensable
A person you can't live without.
- the phrase means a person who, if he didn't exist, I couldn't live.
- this type of sentence refers to someone indispensable: 不可欠な
Other examples expressing prohibition
Using cell phones is prohibited in the library.
だめ - It's not good, it's not to be done
だめだ! or simply だめ! can be heard in the everyday life between parents and young children in Japan, it is an exclamation that expresses a prohibition, a very common reproach.
It is a strong, imperative expression that we translate:
- that's no good!
- do not do it!
It is also used to express a prohibition in the form of advice in some situations.
You must not drink alcohol for a while.
As you can see there is always the forma in te + the adjective 駄目な which singularly means
Differences between てはいけない and だめだ
- －てはいけない is used in general situations
- －てはだめだ instead for personal matters involving the speaker and the interlocutor
The forms of prohibition aimed at the person concerned are very strong and are generally pronounced by persons with authority: a policeman, a caretaker, a parent towards the children, a teacher towards the students, etc.
Below an example of a reproach of a parent to the child:
ては becomes ちゃ on an informal, confidential level
We learned the forms なければならない、なくてはならない with the final variants in いけない and also the use of だめだ. There are other ways to express prohibitions and prohibitions that we will learn in the next articles.