Request Master, Part II (Bonus Unit H)

You remember how to conjugate verbs into the negative plain form?

For example, 行く (いく // to go) becomes 行かない (いかない // don't go), 買う (かう // to buy) becomes 買わない (かわない // don't buy), and so on.

Well, we can form the negative て-form by attaching で to the end of the negative plain form.

In other words, these are all て-form conjugations:

These are all negative plain form conjugations:

And these are all negative て-form conjugations:

Maybe looking at it like this might help:

As you might have guessed, we can make negative requests by using the negative て-form.

Thus, instead of these:

…we now have these:

Do you have sharp eyes?

If so, you might have noticed that I left a row out of those lists of phrases. Specifically, we didn't have:

The reason for this is that the negative form of ~ていいよ is NOT ~ないでいいよ.

△ 買わないでいいよ。
△ かわないで いい よ。

Instead, we would say:

〇 買わなくていいよ。
〇 かわなくて いい よ。
〇 It's OK to not buy it.
〇 Literally: "not buy (and) + good + よ."

Although I'm tempted to call this an irregular conjugation, I don't think that's accurate, really. I never know if I'm supposed to call ない a verb or an i-adjective. I think the problem lies in trying to label it in the first place, but let's not worry about that. Suffice it to say that ない sometimes conjugates like an i-adjective (e.g. when it is a standalone word and not just a verb ending).

With that in mind, can you recall what the negative て-form of i-adjectives is?


Why do we use this form when saying it is OK not to do something?

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure. Though I could probably find out with a whole bunch of googling in Japanese. Let's just memorize it, instead. I should mention, however, that ~なくていいよ is actually an abbreviation of ~なくてもいい, so we could also say:

かわなくても いい よ。
You don't have to buy it.
Literally: "even if (you) don't buy + good + よ."
Note: In our chart, we would have put, "It's OK to not buy it," but I thought "You don't have to buy it" would be more natural.

In more formal language, we could also stick a です in there:

かわなくても いい です よ。
You do not have to buy it.
Literally: "even if (you) don't buy + good + です + よ."



Disclaimer! In our ~ないで conjugation lists, we have some examples that, as mentioned in the previous section, would sound strange in certain contexts.

In particular, it's hard to think of any situation in which this Japanese sentence will sound natural:

△ 寝なくていいよ。
△ ねなくて いい よ。
△ It's OK to not sleep.
△ Literally: “not sleep (and) + good + よ.”

Most importantly, almost none of the examples with 案内する (あんないする // to guide; to show [someone] around) sounded natural with the ~ないで patterns, so we're using the verb 電話する (でんわする // to call [on the phone]), instead:

X) 電話する(でんわする // to call [on the phone]
1) 電話しないで。(でんわしないで。 // Don't call [me].
2) 電話しないでください。(でんわしないでください。 // Please don't call [me].
3) 電話しないでくれる?でんわしないでくれる? // Will you not call [me]?
4) 電話しないでくれない?でんわしないでくれない? // Will you not call [me]?
5) 電話しないでくれませんか?でんわしないでくれませんか? // Could you please not call [me]?
6) 電話しないでもらう。(でんわしないでもらう。 // I'll have him/her not call [me].
7) 電話しないでもらえる?でんわしないでもらえる? // Could I get you to not call [me]?
8) 電話しなくていいよ。(でんわしなくていいよ。 // It's OK to not call [me].
9) 電話しないでほしい。(でんわしないでほしい。 // I want you to not call [me].


Well, are you ready?

Because here is our monstrous chart in printable PDF form:
Japanese Conjugations - Request Master 2 - Letter Sized.pdf

You can also download each verb pattern as a separate image. Or you can view everything as a Google Sheet.

Be strong. And if your ears start bleeding from over-audio-loopage, please take a break. ^_^

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