Instantaneous Composition Method

Japanese Grammar: Expressing “Must” or “Have to” 「…だめ」「…いけない」「…ならない」

Japanese Grammar: だめ いけない ならない

Before starting the exercise for Expressing “Must” or “Have to” 「…だめ」「…いけない」「…ならない」, please clarify any doubts you may have about the grammatical rules by referring to your grammar guidebook or dictionary. The Instantaneous Composition Method requires you to compose sentences with the target sentence pattern(s) over and over in order to use them almost effortlessly. You should already have the necessary knowledge.

Genki I – Lesson 12: ~なければいけません / ~なきゃいけません
Tae Kim’s Guide – Expressing “must” or “have to”

Instantaneous Composition Exercise for Expressing “Must” or “Have to” 「…だめ」「…いけない」「…ならない」

This is not a translation exercise. This is the Instantaneous Composition Exercise. As if a reflexive action, try to create an equivalent Japanese sentence shortly after reading an English script. Try not to think for more than three seconds.

Audio File

English and Hidden Japanese Scripts

 1.  (Casual) As for greetings, (you) have to do (it).
 2.  (Casual) (I) must meet (my) teacher today.
 3.  (Casual) (You) must not die.
 4.  (Neutral) (You) have to sit down on the chair. 
 5.  (Neutral) (You) must decide (it) alone.
 6.  (Neutral) (You) must not enter here. 
 7.  (Neutral) (You) must not stand up now.
 8.  (Formal) (You) have to speak English.
 9.  (Formal) (You) have to come to the school every day.
 10.  (Formal) (You) must not break things.


We have defined the formality as “だめ (casual) < いけない (neutral) < and ならない (formal).” ならない is generally used in writing, thus you should use だめ and いけない in conversation, including business situations. In Genki, you learned しなきゃいけない. This is not wrong, however, しないといけない is more common. 

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