Double negation?

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Double negation?

Post by ahmadismail » Sun 09.30.2012 8:02 am

Hello everybody,

I found the following sentence in Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese:

加賀先生: そうね。大体、 「こんにちは」と言うと思いますよ。 ただし、書く時 は「こんにちわ」じゃなくて、 「こんにちは」と書かなくてはなりません。

The translation given is:

Kaga-sensei: Well, mostly, I think people say "konnichiwa". Only, when you write it, you must write "konnichiha" and not "konnichiwa".

I have trouble understanding the structure of the last phrase:


I don't know how this translates to: you must write "Konnichiha".

My own analysis of the phrase is as follows:

「こんにちは」と "Konnichiha" quote
書かなくて not write
は topic particle
なりません must not

Is this a case of double negation? "You must NOT NOT write "konnichiha"?


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Re: Double negation?

Post by Shiroisan » Sun 09.30.2012 12:46 pm

In formally written Japanese, double negation is the main way to say "have to".

There are various forms。  I'll use the verb "to eat" as an example..


it doesn't matter whether you use なりません or いけません for the ending.

This should be one of the very first things they teach you when you learn ない forms.

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Re: Double negation?

Post by furrykef » Sun 02.10.2013 9:05 pm

This is the relevant page on Tae Kim for this grammar construction.

It should be noted that the ~なくちゃ and ~なきゃ forms are informal (but not impolite) contractions of ~なくては and ~なければ.
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