788 - しろ《命令》

JLPT N4: しろ《命令》

If you watch anime or read manga, then, depending on your tastes, you probably come across rude characters using 命令形 (めいれいけい // imperative form; command form).

The word 命令 (めいれい) means "order" or "command."

The kanji 形 means "form" or "shape." When it's used in isolation, 形 (かたち) is a word meaning "form," "shape," or "figure," actually. The onyomi, however, is けい.

Thus, we have 命令形 (めいれいけい), a conjugation type that is used for giving rather strong, blunt commands.

Going back to anime, you may have heard such gems as...



逃げ
にげろ!
Run!
Literally: “run / escape / get out of here (=[command])!”


Or perhaps...




しね。
Die.
Literally: “die (=[command]).”



ころせ。
Kill (him [them / it / etc.]).
Literally: “kill (=[command]).”



だまれ。
Shut up. // Shut your mouth.
Literally: “be quiet / be silent (=[command]).”


As you can see, it is used when you want to convey the utmost respect to the listener.

No, I'm kidding. Though this is not the case for all situations, 命令形 tends to sound rude.

As a strong-sounding grammatical form, you'll hear it used more often by male speakers.

 





文法:活用の術!
ぶんぽう:かつようのじゅつ!

Before we get into the conjugations of 命令形, a reminder that you should know your verb types.

We've had a lesson on this before: [NDL #482] - Basics: Verb Types.


Godan (Type 1) Verbs:

Change the final -u sound to an -e sound.

For example, here are the three godan verbs we saw above:

死ぬ(しぬ // to die
殺す(ころす // to kill
黙る(だまる // to be silent; to shut up

See the endings?

-ぬ (-nu)
-す (-su)
-る (-ru)

Since these are godan verbs, we'll change the final -u sounds to -e sounds:

-ぬ (-nu) → -ね (-ne)
-す (-su) → -せ (-se)
-る (-ru) → -れ (-re)

Snap the new endings onto our verb stems, and the verbs are now in the command form:

死ぬ(しぬ // to die
↓ ↓
しね // die

殺す(ころす // to kill
↓ ↓
ころせ // kill

黙る(だまる // to be silent; to shut up
↓ ↓
だまれ // be silent; shut up


Not too hard, yeah?

Luckily, it's even easier with ichidan verbs.


Ichidan (Type 2) Verbs:

Drop the final -る and replace it with -ろ.

For instance, we already saw the verb 逃げる (にげる // to run away; to escape) above.

Since it was in the command form, it ended with -ろ, not -る:

逃げ
にげろ!
Run!
Literally: “run / escape / get out of here (=[command])!”


Below, we'll also see:

起きる(おきる // to wake up
↓ ↓
起きおきろ // wake up

寝る(ねる // to go to bed; to go to sleep
↓ ↓
ねろ // go to bed; go to sleep


Now we just need to master...


Irregular (Type 3) Verbs

As you probably could have guessed, these are our irregular verbs:

する(to do
来る(くる // to come

In 命令形, they are:

しろdo
来いこい // come

 

It's now time for everyone's favorite part: Examples!

When you're robbing a convenience store, be sure to say:

金を
かね を だせ!
Give me the money!
Literally: “money + を + take out (=[command])!”

 



And here we have an example of a father who clearly does not appreciate the fact that you were awake until 5 in the morning playing video games:

起き。もう11時だぞ。
おきろ。 もう じゅういちじ だ ぞ。
Wake up. It’s already eleven.
Literally: “wake up (=[command]). + already + eleven o’clock + だ + ぞ.”

 



Although 命令形 can sound like a very strong or rude command, it's fine to use it with close friends. It won't sound like you're trying to boss them around or anything.

For example, when your friend tells you about his new girlfriend, you (also a male in this case) might say:

新しい彼女、俺らに紹介しろよ。
あたらしい かのじょ、 おれら に しょうかい しろ よ。
Introduce your new girlfriend to us.
Literally: “new + girlfriend, + we + に + introducing + do (=[command]) + よ.”
Note: The よ makes the command seem a little bit softer.

 



I think we all dread hearing this from a parent:

今すぐ帰って来い
いますぐ かえって こい!
Come home this instant!
Literally: “right away + return home (and) + come (=[command]).”

 



Note that 命令形 does not sound rough or rude when it is embedded into a sentence (e.g. when quoting someone):

母は遅くとも10時までにはと言います。
はは は おそくとも じゅうじ まで に は ねろ と いいます。
My mother says to go to bed by ten o’clock at the latest.
Literally: “mother + は + at the latest + ten o’clock + until + に + は + go to sleep / go to bed (=[command]) + と + says.”

 



Leveling Up

Take a look at this sentence, said by a boss to a subordinate:

この書類をスキャンしてくれる
この しょるい を スキャン して くれる?
Will you scan these documents for me?
Literally: “this + documents + を + scan + do (and) + give (me)?”


Now, what if we wanted to put this into 命令形 but still keep the ~てくれる pattern?

Since くれる is an ichidan (type 1) verb, you would think that we would say ~てくれ in this case.

But no one says that.

Instead, people say:

この書類をスキャンしてくれ
この しょるい を スキャン して くれ。
Will you scan these documents for me?
Literally: “this + documents + を + scan + do (and) + give (me) (=[command]).”


We just drop the final -る.

I'm not sure why people do this with this specific verb. But yeah, they do.

In fact, you may recall that we saw a very similar sentence back in these hilarious lessons:

- [NDL #42] - Ridiculous Japanese Video
- [NDL #43] - Ridiculous Japanese Video, Part #2

 



Anyway, while I do recommend practicing your own 命令形 conjugations and sentences... uh... be careful who you use it with. ^_^



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