ておく - Grammar Discussion

to do something in advance

Structure

  • Verb[ ] + おく

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Misa from JapaneseAmmo just made a video about ておく. It would be good if you added it to the grammar point :smile:

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Hey and welcome on community forums :grin:

I have added it to the “readings” section!

Cheers,

PS
Cool avatar, what does it depict?

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Would I be able to write ておく as て置く when referring to this grammar point in a sentence? Or should I simply keep writing hiragana when referring to these types of grammar points?

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Hey :grin:

You should keep writing them in hiragana, otherwise, it can cause confusion. :+1:

Cheers,

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来週らいしゅうまでに漢字かんじを30字じ おぼえておかなく てはいけない
why is the translation " By next week, I have to memorize 30 kanji in advance ."?
according to this grammer point: https://bunpro.jp/grammar_points/67 it should mean I DON’T have to right?

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Hey :grinning:

You have negative て form of おく used here 覚えておかなくてはいけない, which together with はいけない form double negative, meaning must must なくてはいけない grammar point.

It sounds complicated, but basically なくてはいけない means “must” while てはいけない means “must not”. It is quite a long phrase, so it might be confusing, but you will get used to it.


Negative て form is really easy to make:
おく→negative form->おかない-replace い with く→おかなく-add て->おかなくて (done)

I hope it helps,
Cheers!

PS
てはいけない means “must not”, in other words, something is prohibited, not allowed. It is important to not do that.
ここで駐車してはいけない。
You must not park here. Do not park here. Parking here is prohibited.

While “don’t have to” means there is no obligation to do something, you are not required to do something if you don’t want. In Japanese, なくてもいい is used to say that.

行かなくてもいい。
You don’t have to go. (if you don’t want). There is no obligation to go.

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Could とく/どく be added as synonyms or included in the structure as they are casual contractions of ておく? (Perhaps used in examples as well)

This also would be helpful for people trying to find what とく means when they don’t already know it’s a contraction.

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Thanks!

I actually thought we had those on the site already :bowing_man:

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This double negative is really unintuitive, this can’t be common usage.

Hi and welcome.
This double negative is the Japanese way of saying that someone has to do something. There are some different ways of doing it, for example;
~ないといけない
~なければいけない
~なければならない
but they’re all double negatives and they’re all used all the time in everyday speech. It comes very naturally after a while.

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Hello, just to see if i am understanding correctly,
覚えておか なく てはいけない
is saying you must not not memorize in advance?

No, it’s a double negative so it means you must remember in advance.

That would be how the double negative ultimately ends up in the English version I wrote: “you must not not memorize in advance.”
I believe the Japanese is saying you are not allowed to not memorize it in advanced, not that you must memorize it in advanced. It ultimately means the same thing, but the logic is not the same.

This is a fairly normal way to say this though that’s used when one would say “must” in English. So it’s better to think of it as translating to “must” because Japanese speakers do not perceive this as a particularly strange construction in the way a literal translation to English is perceived by speakers of English.

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So why not use the more traditional forms
覚えておかなければいけない
or 覚えておかなければいません
both mean the same thing, the expectation of the prompt is very ambiguous as is the translation of the solution.

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Hey :cowboy_hat_face:

All the forms are correct and used, so it is good to learn all of them :+1:.
What is more なければいけない is introduced in N4 lesson 8, and ておく appears in lesson 7 so we have used なくてはいけない (from lesson 1) instead, since we are building on previously learned grammar constructions.

I hope it helps,
Cheers

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