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Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい as “Do VERB”

Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい as “Do VERB”

An alternative to taking the て-Form of a VERB word and adding ください (a special conjugation of the verb word くださる, which in turn is the honorific form of the verb word くれる, which means “to give, to let have, to do for one”) after it to express “please do VERB” is instead conjugating the VERB word itself into the special “なさい form.” (なさい is the imperative form of the verb word なさる, which in turn is the honorific form of the verb word する, “to do.”) We do this by taking the Pre-ます-Form of the VERB word and plugging なさい right after it.

Example(s):

する (suru) “to do”
Pre-ます-Form:し
しなさい (shinasai) “do” [command]

よむ (yomu) “to read”
Pre-ます-Form: よみ
よみなさい (yominasai) “read” [command]

いく (iku) “to go”
Pre-ます-Form: いき
いきなさい (ikinasai) “go” [command]

However, while this form may be simpler due to having to only conjugate the single VERB word used, it comes with certain restrictions. Unlike the て/ないで-Form VERB + ください grammar pattern, it cannot be used in a negative form to tell someone to not do something.

Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい is also considered more forceful than て/ないで-Form VERB + ください, while still being polite. It is often used when the speaker and addressee have a relationship of superior/older and inferior/younger respectively (e.g. an adult talking to children, a teacher talking to students, a boss talking to interns, etc.). While English translations of the て/ないで-Form VERB + ください grammar pattern are likely to include the word “please,” English translations of this grammar pattern typically will not include “please” depending on context (generally because given these types of relationships, something like an adult not saying “please” when talking to a child doesn’t mean they’re not being polite to them).

Example(s):

やめなさい
Yamensai
“Stop it”

ちょっと待ちなさい
Chotto machinasai
“Please wait a bit”

野菜を食べなさい
Yasai o tabenasai
“Eat your vegetables”

もう起きなさい!
Mou okinasai!
“Wake up already!”

ご挨拶をちゃんとしなさい
Goaisatsu o chanto shinasai
“Properly greet your seniors”

 

Further, this grammar pattern can be turned into a shortened version by outright dropping the さい in なさい. This results in what is arguably a completely new grammar pattern in and of itself, Pre-ます-Form VERB + な as “Do VERB,” and in turn makes the new command statement even more forceful, yet still retaining a degree of politeness.

Example(s):

見な
mina
“look”

たべな
tabena
“eat”

なっちゃいなよ
nacchaina yo
“go ahead and become”

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):