Can someone explain to me what these words mean

To get a better understanding of these words, I would like to know what they mean on their own. It may seem odd to ask this question, but I find I learn better by breaking things up and rebuilding them.
And, I do know what they mean together, they are a double negative, and like algebra, two negatives form a positive.
So, what does Shinakute (ha) and Ikemasen mean. (on their own) With Shinakute I am thinking Shi is an add on, so maybe explain what Shi does to Nakute to make it Shinakute.
Thank you.

P.S. If anyone replies in Kanji, err, I can not read Kanji. Not yet.

I myself am new to this, but I’ll tell what I know.
Well let’s start with the single negative to know what it means. I would’ve preferred if you mentioned an example sentence. But let’s say you want to say “I must study”, benkyou wo shinakute ha ikemasen.
Imagine the sentence to start with is “I must not study”, benkyou wo ikemasen. Literally “study must not do”. (Wo is just a particle that specifies that benkyou is the object)
Now the double negative kicks in by adding shinakute, which comes from shinai, which means “doesn’t do”. Imagine shinakute as meaning “not doing”, and it’ll become comprehensible.
(I’m aware that is not the literal use ofしなくて, but we’ll stick with it because it’s easier)
Therefore the sentence would be: benkyou wo shinakute ha ikemasen. Like “study not doing, must not do”

When it comes to grammar, you subconsciously start to get it through long periods of practicing.

Should there be a “Ha” inbetween Shinakute and Ikemasen.
Either way, Shinakute means must not do and Ikemasen means doesn’t do. Together they cancel each other out to form must do.
Thank you for that. I do wonder if there is an easier way to say this sort of thing. Such as, instead of must not/does not to get must, you could just say "I need to"
No wonder Japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn, or is the hardest. But, it is fun.
Cheers dude :smiley:

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I don’t think that しなくて (shinakute) means ‘must not do’. It is simply the te-form of しない (shinai), which means ‘do not do’.
しない ----> しなくて

I think it would be better if you think of it like this:
しなくて = do not do
いけない = wrong / no good

I must study today. = Not studying today is no good
(kyou, watashi ha benkyou wo shinakute ha ikemasen)

I think this will also help with ‘must not do’ sentences. してはいけない (shite ha ikenai)
して = to do
いけない = wrong / no good

I must not eat this cake = eating this cake is no good
(watashi ha, kono kēki wo tabete ha ikemasen)

I hope this makes sense.

I don’t know if you have learned this yet, but you can also express “must do” by using a conditional (if). This makes even more sense when you break it down.
"I must study today"
(kyou, watashi ha benkyou wo shinakereba ikemasen)
If I do not study today, it will be no good ----> I must study today


To be honest, you confused me even more. I looked on the internet for the meanings of these two words I wanted to know about, but it is much the same as on here. It is almost contradictory.
What I should focus on it trying to memorise these words, and come up with an alternative. To me it seems odd using the word “Must”, with the Japanese people more or less avoiding direct wordage/meanings, it seems odd they would use such a direct and harsh word. Can do or need to are much better words, or even should do, which is even better.
It would have been nice to have broken these words up, see how they word, because they really are annoying me, I can not understand what the “Shi” means in Watashi wa shinakute ha ikemasen, when I get Watashi ha aidea ga nakute ha ikemasen, I also do not understand how noma is formed from nomimasu to get Watashiha wain wo nomanakute ha ikemasen. It is the same with Ikimasu for Watashi ha toukiyou ni ikanakute ha ikemasen. Why is the “a” there, what does that actually signify to these sentences.
Confusing, to say the least. Anyway, I do thank you for your help. I might get it eventually, I had the same problem with some thing else, and it did eventually click in to place.

“watashi” is a word by itself, “shi” is not to be seen as a separate word inthis

しなくて comes from する (to do)
する (dict. form ~ do) → しない (negative ~ don’t do) → しなくて (te-form ~ don’t do / not doing)

This form is te-form so can’t stand on its own. You have to use it before another verb/sentence!
e.g. … べんきょうしなくて いきます。 (I go, without studying.)

いけません comes from いく (to go)
いく (dict. form ~ go) → いける (potential ~ can go) → いけます (polite ~ can go) → いけません (negative ~ can’t go)

So literally it means “I (or he, she, …) can’t go”. You can use いけません if someone asks you if you will go to a party but you’re busy :slight_smile:

I was referring to Shinaku, not Watashi. Nakute can stand on its own, so I do not understand the Shi, for the term “I must”, Shinakute ha ikemasen. You can see this in Aidea ga “nakute” ha ikemasen.
I do understand when Nomi(masu) is added to nakute, just not how nomi is changed to noma… Watashi wa wain wo nomanakute wa ikemasen.

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I always thought “To do” is Shimasu. I take it Shinakute is another form of “To do” in some way because of “Suru”.
This just makes things worse. I understand getting the double negative to mean a positive, I have no problem with that, just breaking these words down to find out their true meaning is my problem. Too much contradiction. I should just memorise these words and store them away deep down in my mind and bring them out at Christmas.
Thank you for the explanation. Sadly it just washed over me. Sorry about that. Looking at your explanation of Shinakute, Suru and Shinai just makes me think of Shimasu and Shimasen. Even more confusing for me.

There is something like the -te form in Japanese, which is very omportant because other verbforms are derived from it.

“I do understand when Nomi(masu) is added to nakute, just not how nomi is changed to noma… Watashi wa wain wo nomanakute wa ikemasen.”

飲む (nomu) —> 飲み (nomi) —> 飲みます (nomimasu)
飲む (nomu) —> 飲まない (nomanai) —> 飲まなくて (nomanakute)

行く (iku) —> 行き (iki) —> 行きます (ikimasu)
行く (iku) —> 行かない (ikanai) —> 行かなくて (ikanakute)

行きます (Ikimasu) is just the polite form of the verb 行く (iku). To get to ikimasu, you first conjugate 行く to the verb stem 行き (iki) and then add the ます ending.
行かない (ikanai) is the negative conjugation of the verb 行く. 行く is a u-verb, so you replace the last character with the a-vowel equivalent and add ない.
行く —> 行か + ない —> 行かない
飲む —> 飲ま + ない —> 飲まない
する —> し + ない —> しない

“Nakute can stand on its own, so I do not understand the Shi, for the term “I must”, Shinakute ha ikemasen.”

し is not added to なくて. Both しなくて and なくて are conjugations.
to do = する —> しない —> しなくて
nonexistent = 無い (nai) —> なくて
to go = 行く —> 行かない —> 行かなくて

しなくてはいけません = must do
なくてはいけません = must exist
行かなくてはいけません = must go

今日、洗濯しなくてはいけません。 = I have to do laundry today.
(kyou, sentaku shinakute ha ikemasen)

文の終わりで句読点がなくてはいけません。 = There must be a punctuation mark at the end of a sentence.
(bun no owari de kutouten ga nakute ha ikemasen)

今朝、スーパーに行かなくてはいけません。 = I have to go to the supermarket this morning.
(kesa, sūpā ni ikanakute ha ikemasen)

I really recommend that you learn the writing system as soon as possible. Relying on romaji really stops you understanding how everything fits together. It took me only a few weeks to learn all the hiragana and katakana. Then you can use Google Translate to write in Japanese instead of romaji.

I always thought the imasu was to make the word moving, coming from the word Shimasu meaning to go. This is how I thought it, anyway. I read this and clicked, regarding the Noma and Nomi, so it is as simple as a negative and positive meaning then. Or, there abouts.
I can read and write Hirogana and Katakana, I learned Katakana in a month to a degree of 95% (Learn Japanese to Survive - Katakana War) and Hirogana I learned in a couple of weeks using Memrise. The only reason I have not learned to use the Hirogana/Katakana on my keyboard is because of remembering where every thing is and how to use half syllables, and mostly because there is a time limit when answering questions on Memrise. I do not react well, or cope under pressure.
There is more than enough to ponder on here, I have even written it down, plus a bonus, extra words I did not know. Thank you for that :smiley:

What is this. It looks like Temo, but looks wrong.

I noticed you wrote this…
kesa, sūpā ni ikanakute ha ikemasen, meaning I have to go to the supermarket this morning. I have just learned that Nakutehaikemasen is Must, so I am guessing it also means Have, too. Am I right here.

The Japanese IME isn’t as complicated as you think. Sure you can make every button on the keyboard have a different kana character; but how it actually works is that you type the word in romaji (how’d you type anything else), and the IME posts it in Hiragana. Example: you type “hi”, and the IME turns it to “ひ”.

About masu, it is something added at the end of any verb to express politeness. Here are a few examples of differences between casual and polite verbs:
To drink: nomu (impolite) nomimasu (polite). To go: iku (impolite) ikimasu (polite). To exist (living things): iru (impolite) imasu (polite).

You’re still new, but seem to be very enthusiastic about learning Japanese, which is what’s needed. :smile:
Get the IME, it’s essential. And start with the Kanji, it’s easier than you think if you used the right method. Happy learning!


It would appear my IME is broken then, or I am a complete idiot. I learn towards idiot…
I have the Microsoft one already on the computer, but I also downloaded the google one too, at the bottom of my screen it say JP and next to it a large A and next to that a spanner and next to that what looks like a ping pong paddle with a red and yellow ball, but other than that, it is there, just not working.
Masu, sorted, it seems I had that all wrong, especially seeing as I thought it was imasu.
As for Kanji, the whole idea of that just does not tickle my toes at all. To be honest, I can not see Kanji lasting that long in Japanese schools much longer anyway. They have already had some sort of poll to decide whether to keep it or not, for the time being they have kept it. Not be too long before they review that decision again.
And, yeah, I do enjoy my sessions learning Japanese, but sadly I do not do as much as I like. I have a short attention span, so I can spend a few hours on it or longer, but soon as I get stuck, it annoys me and my concentration is out the window, but I do spend a minimum of roughly an hour on it a day.
I do find some of the words fascinating, and try to break them down in to pieces to see how they work. So far this post is the one that has eluded me, Nakutehaikemasen just confuses me how they get it to work the way they do. I am sure they will be more to come. Dreading Kanji though, but if I could learn Japanese with out touching Kanji, I definitely would.
Thank you for your reply. It helped a lot.

You said windows OS. What version?
You probably have Kana input enabled, so every button consists of a Hiragana character. Turn off Kana input to get it working normally.
Note that I could only help you in disabling the Kana input if you’re using Windows 10, since that’s the one I’m used to. If it’s a different OS, you might have to check Google for a solution.

It’s not something like this by any chance? Cause then you just need to click the “A” and change it to hiragana. The "Ctrl + ` " hotkey also works depending on your keyboard.

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I am using Windows 7. And, yes something like that. I shall change it later, so I shall try it in the morning. It is late here.
It is on direct input at the moment. So I am hoping then when I change it to Hiragana, all is good.
Nice one :smiley:

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Using the IME system, it was a nightmare at first, but getting used to it, slowly. It is nicely effective, I just got to stop writing out the entire word as I was when I were typing Roman.
I think I can get used to this, and like it.
Cheers, dude. Nice one.

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