-ないと

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mella
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon 08.02.2010 2:42 pm
Native language: Italian

-ないと

Post by mella » Thu 09.01.2011 5:08 am

In a manga I am reading this sentence
気を付けないと
has been translated as affirmative, even if -ない is negative. Is -ないと a special grammar structure that I haven't yet studied?

blutorange
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun 01.24.2010 4:23 pm
Native language: German

Re: -ないと

Post by blutorange » Thu 09.01.2011 5:26 am

How was it translated? Literally it means "if [you] don't pay attention, then...". More naturally, one could turn this into an affirmative by saying "[you] need to / should pay attention". Please see http://www.guidetojapanese.org/conditional.html#part2

Also, note that there is a big difference between "literal translation" and "natural translation": Especially for languages quite a bit different from English such as Japanese, it often happens that although the literal meaning contains a certain grammatical structure &c (eg negative), the best way to say it in English may not contain that certain grammatical structure (eg using a positive+should).

For example, instead of
I am not eating food.
which uses a negative, I could as well say
I am currently doing something else other than eating food.
which uses an affirmative construction, yet the meaning is almost the same.

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squarezebra
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed 04.29.2009 2:39 pm
Native language: English
Gender: Male
Location: Hull, England

Re: -ないと

Post by squarezebra » Thu 09.01.2011 12:54 pm

To put it another way, is a contraction, or an incomplete sentence. The full sentence would have (probably) been 気を付けないといけない (which is a double-negative) which means you MUST pay attention (for whatever reason). In casual spoken Japanese, parts of speech are often dropped and you just have to get used to this through exposure.
Spend less time thinking, and more time doing.

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