620 - べからず

You know how we can attach べき to a VERB to mean "should VERB," yeah?

If not, then put your review pants on and go read this: [NDL #429] - JLPT N3: べきだ.

You also know that the verb ending ~ず means ~ない, yeah? That is, it's a negative verb ending. JLPT N2 and N1 tests love the ~ず verb ending.

↑ Smash all that together, and you get ↓


JLPT N1: べからず (must not)

Placing べからず after a VERB changes the meaning to "must not VERB" or "cannot VERB" or "VERB not allowed."

This is an outdated, written form. I doubt you'll ever hear people saying it, and you certainly don't need to be using it in your own Japanese. You may, however, see it printed on a sign every now and then.

Like this:


私有地につき、入るべからず
しゆうち に つき、 はいるべからず。
Private Property. No Trespassing.
Literally: “private property + につき (=because of / on account of), + enter + べからず.”

Instead of 入るべからず, it would be more common to write something like 入ってはいけません (はいってはいけません // Do not enter.) or perhaps even just 入らないでください (はいらないでください // Please do not enter.).

If you're old school, though, perhaps you would opt to write 入るべからず.


Wait a second.

Didn't we already study this?

Mmm... not quite. But we studied something very similar: [NDL #403] - JLPT N1: べからざる.


📚 Grammar Stuff 📚

V るべからず
must not VERB; cannot VERB

Just like we saw with べきだ, when the VERB before べからず is する, we say べからず or するべからず.


Writing this lesson, I wondered: Why does べからず mean "must not" or "cannot?"

Like you, I too ask questions that teachers hate answering.

So I looked up べからず in a dictionary:

べからず:〔推量の助動詞「べし」の未然形「べから」に打ち消しの助動詞「ず」の付いたもの〕
助動詞「べし」の打ち消しの言い方。現代語でも文語的表現として用いられることがある。
べからず comes from adding the negative ending ず to the imperfective form べから of the conjectural helping verb べし. It is a negative form of the helping verb べし. It is sometimes used in modern written language.

To summarize, the dictionary was telling me:




Some examples:


初心、忘るべからず
しょしん、 わするべからず。
One must not forget one’s original feelings (when starting out).
Literally: “initial feelings, + forget + べからず.”
Note: 忘る (わする) just means 忘れる (わすれる) here, "to forget." 忘るべからず is kind of a set phrase.


最後の最後まで、油断するべからず
さいご の さいご まで、 ゆだん するべからず。
You cannot let your guard down until the very end. // One must not be careless until it is all finished.
Literally: “last + の + last + まで (=until), + carelessness / negligence + do + べからず.”

人を安易に信用すべからず
ひと を あんい に しんよう すべからず。
Do not be quick to trust others.
Literally: “person + を + easy / simple + に + trust / faith + すべからず.”


Enough!

Oh, and maybe I should have mentioned this before, but you might also want to look at this lesson on べく, which has quite a different meaning than べきだ 、べからざる、and べからず:[NDL #354] - JLPT N1: べく.

Get confused べからず, yo.