679 - ~てもいい (permission)

JLPT N4: ~てもいい (may ~; it's OK to ~)

Ending a VERB with ~てもいい can be done in order to give someone permission to do something, or to request permission to do something.

An example:


今日は2時に帰っもいいですよ。
きょう は にじ に かえってもいい です よ。
You can go home at two today.
Literally: “today + は + two o’clock + に + may go home (=go home [and] + も + good) + です + よ.”

This should make a lot of sense if you've already read this lesson: [NDL #526] - JLPT N4: ~ても (even if).

In that lesson, we see how Vても means something like "even if VERB."

An example from that lesson:


わたしはロボットなので、1日中働いつかれません。
わたし は ロボット なので、 いちにちじゅう はたらいても つかれません。
I am a robot, so even if I work all day, I do not become tired.
Literally: “I + は + robot + なので (=because), + all day long + even if work (=work [and] + も) + do not become tired.”

When we want to say that a person may do something, we can just put いい, "good," after Vても.

V even if (s.o.) VERBs
Vもいいmay VERB


Let's look at another example:


A:
最後の一個、食べもいいですか。
さいご の いっこ、 たべてもいい です か。
Is it OK if I eat the last one?
Literally: “last + の + one (little thing), + may eat (=eat [and] + も + good) + です + か.”


B:
はい、どうぞ。
はい、 どうぞ。
Yes, go ahead.
Literally: “yes, + go ahead / by all means.”


👷 Construction 👷

I think you may have already picked up on this, but to form ~てもいい sentences, we just need to put もいい after the て-form of a VERB.

So:

V いい
= may (I) VERB; (you) may VERB


Here's another dialogue:


A:
写真を撮っもいいでしょうか。
しゃしん を とってもいい でしょう か。
Would it be all right if I took a photo?
Literally: “photo + を + may take (=take [a photo] [and] + も + good) + でしょう + か.”


B:
すみませんが、写真撮影は禁止になっています。
すみません が、 しゃしんさつえい は きんし に なっています。
I’m sorry, but photography is not permitted.
Literally: “I’m sorry + が (=but), + photography / taking photographs + は + prohibition + に + is becoming.”


And another one:


Customer:
これ、試着しもいいですか。
これ、 しちゃく してもいい です か。
Is it all right if I try this on?
Literally: “this, + trying on (clothing) + may do (=do [and] + も + good) + です + か.”


Employee:
どうぞ、試着してください。
どうぞ、 しちゃく して ください。
By all means, please try it on.
Literally: “go ahead / by all means, + trying on (clothing) + do (and) + please.”


Note that the responses above are saying things like はい、どうぞ、~てください、etc. when saying that an action is allowed in response to a ~てもいい question.

That is, you normally wouldn't respond to ~てもいい...? with ~てもいい.

So in our last dialogue, this response would be less likely:


試着しもいいです。
△ しちゃく してもいい です。
△ You may try it on.
△ Literally: “may try on (clothing) + です.”


Generally speaking, you should avoid telling social superiors that they "may do" things.

Accordingly, don't use ~てもいい when referring to things your teacher or boss may do:


△ 先生、僕の鉛筆を使っもいいです。
△ せんせい、 ぼく の えんぴつ を つかってもいい です。
△ Sensei, you can use my pencil.
△ Literally: “sensei, + I + の + pencil + を + may use (=use [and] + も + good) + です.”

Instead, you can just use ~てください:


〇 先生、僕の鉛筆を使ってください。
〇 せんせい、 ぼく の えんぴつ を つかって ください。
〇 Sensei, please use my pencil.
〇 Literally: “sensei, + I + の + pencil + を + use (and) + please.”


That's all for this one!




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