Verb[ないで] - Casual Request - Grammar Discussion

(Please) do not (for me)
casual request


  • verb[ ない ] +

[In casual speech, expressions like ください can be dropped, and ないで by itself can be used to convey requests]

[Depending on the tone and context of the situation, it can also be used to express a relatively soft order]

[ないで is a contraction of ないでください, which is not as prohibitive as ]

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In what way does this mean or show please?
I understand how it is a contraction of ないでください which is very clearly please do not.
But this looks like it is quite bluntly do not.
None of the three resources make any indication that it implies a request with please.
They do say if it had ください it implies a polite please, but they don’t say that for just ないで
Another example beingないで-naide-meaning/

Doesn’t show anything about please until you add くださいないでください-naide-kudasai-meaning/

I actually can’t find any site that says ないで itself implies please. So either I am wrong and I am not looking up the correct things, which is possible. Or you shouldn’t have (Please) and you should only have “Do not”.

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Your second link states “You can remove the ください (kudasai), to just say ないで (naide), which is more casual.” though? Unless I’m misunderstanding your question.

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no you got it. exactly. And if you remove kudasai you get the first link right. Which has no indication of being polite or implying please

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It has to do with it being an informal way of speaking. There is indeed nothing grammar wise that states the request part, however the meaning is implied and is inferred by the listener due to it not following up with an action following the ないで part. (and context / tone of voice / …)
For examples on dropping the ください, when looking at the entry for ください in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, we also find this note :

  1. In very informal speech, kudasa; may drop. (This form of request is
    often used by female speakers.)
    (2) a. 早く来て。
    Hayaku kite.
    (Please come quickly.)
    b. まだ帰らないで。
    Mada kaeranai de.
    (Please don’t go home yet.)

If we’re looking at the second link you provided in the opening text the relevant parts are :

You can remove the ください (kudasai), to just say ないで (naide), which is more casual.

Be careful to not confuse this with the other ないで (naide) meaning.

Let’s look at some examples to make this clear :

To state "Do not"

If we’re working with the “Do not” meaning we will have two clauses, (A) and (B), where (B) goes into more detail about the “without doing (A)” part.


So we have “to work (B) without taking a break (A).”

(A) ないで (B)


So, we “Want to live (B) without regret (A)”

(A) ないで (B)

To state (please) do not


As we can see here, we still have a clause stating “without telling (our parents)”, but we have no clause for more information on the action. We are simply ending on ないで without any action following.


Again, a clause for “do not” (cry), no second clause with more explanation on the action following.


There isn’t really a direct translation for “please” in the first place. There’s this kind of continuum (examples):

食べるな - imperative; in English we’d use the imperative.

食べないでくれ - imperative “do for me”; in English we would use “please” in a situation like this where the plain imperative is too strong because English does not have a “do for me” verb.

食べないでください - imperative “do for me”, but respectful (尊敬語); in English we would use “please” because English doesn’t have 尊敬語 either.

So where does ending on ないで fit in? It’s not a plain imperative, so can we translate it to one in English? Or do we soften it with “please”? That’s more or less the only options we have without being roundabout.

ないで clearly doesn’t mean please. But it’s also not a normal sentence-ending form, so it implies that there’s something missing. Now it’s often stated that it can be understood as an implicit ください or something,… but that’s actually not important.

It’s not important because the actual question is: What would an English speaker say in the same situation? And for requests with ないで this will often be a request with “please” - because these are requests made in situations where we’re not just giving a command. In some situations it will also just be a command though, because we do not follow the same rules for when those get a softener and when they don’t.

Translating the other way around is the same way. If you say “please” to a customer, that certainly can’t be translated to ないで. So in that sense, ないで doesn’t mean nor imply “please” because it’s simply not an equivalent level of politeness. But if you say it in a situation where ないで would be normal in Japanese, then it does mean “please”.


That’s mainly what I meant. And I’m not arguing here but if on your last part. If they wanted to add “please” wouldn’t they just amend it with お願い? Reason I say that is this site has a few example sentences where they use it in that function.ないで-naide/

Is it the case that they would still add something or is it quite literally sometimes ないで is polite by default. Because to me it just seems like blunt command.
Thanks for taking the time and helping

邪魔をしないでね。お願い。-Don’t distract me. Please.
…comes from the longer version…
邪魔をしないでください。お願いします。-Please don’t distract me. Please.



  • humble statement
  • お〜する | Japanese Grammar SRS
  • literally, “I humbly wish”
  • has the feeling of “I hope that you hear this, but you’re not obligated, so I hope you do this out of the goodness of your heart” (notice there’s no command in here)
  • dropping します is more casual but still implied

Notice, both are polite and neither has the word “please” as a direct translation.

So, 「邪魔をしないでね。お願い。」 is a casual direct command followed quickly by a softening of the statement.

食べないで is more blunt than 食べないでください but more polite than 食べるな. English doesn’t have 3 levels of politeness so sometimes 食べないで gets translated with “please” and sometimes it doesn’t.
(I’m interpreting the word “blunt” as similar to “rude”.)

My two cents. Together with the other explanations, I hope this helps. :slight_smile:


Also, don’t forget about this post…
So, how do you ask for a favor? - #9 by mrnoone

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Thank you this is what I was what I needed. Now I see how “please is implied”


Hello, is there a bug or I don’t understand but this lesson seems to have the explanation of the -naide (without doing)

The structure says:

But the explanation is about -naide inside a sentence and meaning of “without doing”

I think this is a bug ?

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I want to bump this because it just confused me as well.
It seems the explanation still works but the reviews and the translation at the top of the lesson does not fit the description.

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Yeah, and it’s still the case. The explanation is about “without doing” and not the casual request structure

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Bumping for the aforementioned reasons.

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Will fix this tomorrow! Apologies for the delay everyone :bowing_man:

Update - Fixed! Once again, apologies for the delay on this one everyone. The description has been rewritten, and new example sentences have also been provided.