なさい - Grammar Discussion

command to do

Structure

  • Verb[stem] + なさい

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If I’m correct, the difference between these two:

  • Verb +
  • Verb[stem] +

Is that respectively, they mean DO something, and DON’T do something?

So:

  • いくな = Don’t go!
  • いきな = Go!

Listening exams must be exhausting…

Also, does this mean that “ごめんなさい” (御免なさい) means “Excuse me”, but in a commanding way? You’re commanding someone to excuse you?

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There is this explanation on this grammar point: :point_right: Can be shortened to just な to make more casual.

I don’t understand. I’m sorry if my comprehension is slow and/or my limited English. I’ve read the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar book on page 284 on this related grammar point. I can understand if this explanation is for the negative statement, ex. Don’t touch 触るな。

Question: How can I use this “na” for positive statement?

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@Pep95
@nanda

You are right @Pep95, basically the first な is added to dictionary form of a verb, basically used to forbid something (in casual language).

The second one is a contraction of なさい、so it is な attached to the verb stem.

@nanda
You conjugated properly, the answer wasn’t in the database.
I am updating it right now/

Sorry for the inconvenience :bowing_man:

Edit:
Done, only the first one was missing the alternative answer :bowing_man:

3 Likes

That is right, this is respectful prefix ご + 免 + なさい being a polite imperative form of respectful word なさる.

But it lost all imperative meaning, it is a set expression.

Notice that お+ やすみ + なさい is very similar. :+1:

2 Likes

For this sentence…

I had thought to use あげる here (渡してあげなさい) - is that a “valid” way to say that as well?

Hey! A similar question popped up in the てあげる thread.

Basically, it won’t change the meaning, but emphasize that the action is a favor.

Cheers!