〜なきゃ&〜なくちゃ (~nakya & ~ nakucha) suffixes

「マギーもっと痩せなきゃモテないよ!」
= Maggie motto yasenakya motenai yo!
= Maggie, you won’t attract anybody if you don’t lose weight.

「ダイエットしなくちゃ!」
= Daietto shinakucha!
= You have to go on a diet.

We have a guest teacher, Anzu-Sensei today.

My dear Twitter Follower pupulinoさん sent me this picture. Thank you!! !ochame!

I made a lesson on ~ちゃう=~chau + ~ちゃった= ~ chatta before.

Today’s lesson is on other casual suffixes.

(verb 未然形 = mizenkai) +なくちゃ = ~ (verb) + naku cha

and

(verb 未然形 = mizenkei ) +なきゃ = (verb) +nakya

:n: 未然形 = mizenkei = imperfective form

People who just learned formal Japanese from text books and/or strict teachers may find this difficult because they are not traditionally taught. Actually we use these suffixes very often in casual conversation.

They mean “to have to do something” or “must do something”

OK, let’s start!!

When you want to say,

“I have to go now”, many of you would translate that as,

A) もう(私は*)行かなくてはいけない or ならない。

= Mou (watashi wa* ) ikanakute wa ikenai or naranai

:rrrr: (more polite) いけません。or なりません。

= ikemasen. or narimasen.

or

B) もう(私は*)行かなければいけない or ならない。

= Mou (watashi wa*) ikanakereba ikenai or naranai

:rrrr: (more polite) いけません。or なりません。

=ikemasen or narimasen.

Note : * We often omit subjects.

* ならない(= naranai)  and なりません (= narimasen) are more formal than いけない (= ikenai) and いけません (= ikemasen).

A lot of time we don’t finish the sentences.

:u:

 

もう行かなくては… or 行かなければ
= Mou ikanakutewa…or ikanakereba

Now, let’s make them more casual. When we talk to our friends,  family, or  ourselves , we don’t say,

A) もう(私は*)行かなくてはいけません。or なりません。
= Mou (watashi wa* ) ikanakute wa ikemasen. or narimasen.

instead, we say,

:u:
もう行かなくちゃ
= Mou ikanakucha

and

B) もう(私は*)行かなければいけません。or なりません。
= Mou (watashi wa*) ikanakereba ikemasen or narimasen.

will be

:u:

もう行かなきゃ
= Mou ikanakya

:i: See the change of the suffix?

(verb 未然形 ) + なくてはいけない or ならない
= (verb
= mizenkei) + nakutewa ikenai or naranai

:rrrr: (verb mizenkei) +なくちゃ

= (verb) + nakucha

(verb 未然形 )+ なければいけない or ならない

= (verb mizenkei)+ nakereba ikenai or naranai

:rrrr: (verb 未然形) +なきゃ

= (verb mizenkei) + nakya

Telling yourself or other people what you have to do.

Ex. I have to eat.

食べなきゃ(いけない)
= tabenakya (ikenai)

食べくちゃ(いけない)
= tabenakucha (ikenai)

Ex. I have to study.

勉強しなきゃ(いけない)
= benkyou shinakya (ikenai)

勉強しくちゃ(いけない)
= benkyou shinakucha (ikenai)

Ex. I have to reply

返事を出さなきゃ(いけない)
= henji wo dasanakya (ikenai)

返事を出さなくちゃ(いけない)
= henji wo dasanakucha (ikenai)

:jjj: When we use them.

with possible consequences

Ex. If I don’t study,  I will fail the exam.

勉強しなくちゃ or なきゃ 試験に受からない。
= Benkyou shinakucha or shinakya shiken ni ukaranai.

Showing your determination

Ex. I really have to win!

絶対に勝たなくちゃ(いけない)or (だめだ)
= Zettai ni katanakucha (ikenai) or (dameda)

絶対に勝たなきゃ(いけない)or (だめだ)
= Zettai ni katanakya (ikenai) or (dameda)

When you tell other people what to do.

Ex. You have to study Japanese more!

もっと日本語の勉強しくちゃ(いけないよ)or (だめだよ)
= Motto nihongo no benkyou shinakucha (ikenaiyo) or (damedayo)

もっと日本語の勉強しなきゃ(いけないよ)or (だめだよ)
= Motto nihongo no benkyou shinakya (ikenaiyo) or (damedayo)

Ex. You have to go to bed now.

もう寝なくちゃ(いけませんよ)or (だめですよ)
= Mou nenakucha (ikemasen yo) or ( dame desu yo)

もう寝なきゃ(いけませんよ)or (だめですよ)
= Mou nenakya (ikemasen yo) or ( dame desu yo)


When you tell other people what to do and the possible consequences.

もっと日本語の勉強しなくちゃ or しなきゃ、マギー先生に怒られるよ。
= Motto nihongo no benkyou shinakucha or shinakya Maggie sensei ni okorareru yo.

= If you don’t study Japanese, Maggie Sensei will chew you out.


マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

あんず先生が言う様に、もっと運動しなくちゃね。
= Anzu sensei ga iu you ni, motto undou shinakucha ikenai wane.
= I guess I should exercise more like Anzu sensei said.

Thank you, Anzu sensei! !JYANE!

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71 Comments

  1. Hi Maggie先生,
    Your site is back up, よかった!
    Never realised how many times I check your lessons until they were no longer there.

    Anyway, my question:
    Omitting and contracting things is quite common in casual speech, so just saying
    -なきゃ without ならない makes sense.
    But I think I also heard the polite -なければ, meaning to say “have to”, without any follow-up, which seems casual to me.
    Is this natural, or did I perhaps simply misheard/misinterpret?

    1. @Jay

      Hi Jay
      Yes, I am back!

      OK, you mean like a finishing a sentence with なければ?
      If so, I wouldn’t say “casual” but you leave the sentence without finishing on purpose.
      So instead of saying なければいけない you just omit いけない. The listener can tell what the speaker means.

      もういかなければ (I have to go now)
      (casual もういかなくちゃ/もういかなきゃ)

      もっとがんばらなければ…
      (casual もっとがんばらなくちゃ/がんばらなきゃ)

  2. Hi Maggie Sensei,

    I found the following statement from instagram. With a dog picture and the dog looks not happy :)

    外に でなきゃ いけなくて 邪魔されるのが いやなん でしょうね。

    Does that mean,

    If not permitted to go outside, he is feeling not happy ( or displeasure )

    外に でなきゃ = 外に でない IF not outside ( or literally means “going outside”)

    いけなくて = いけない  Not allow / don’t do

    Thanks for your advice.

    Cheers
    Kenz

    1. @Kenz

      Hi Kenz

      外にでる = go outside

      外にでなければいけない=(the dog) has to go outside

      →(casual contraction)
      外にでなきゃいけない
      →て form
      外にでなきゃいけなくて = has to go outside and…/ Because the dog has to go out

  3. ああ、先生、早い返事をありがとうございます!もう分かっています *\(^o^)/*

    1. @アレクサンドラ

      どういたしまして!
      (NOTE FOR YOU: もう分かっています→”これでもうわかりました。”の方が自然ですよ。)

  4. Maggie先生こんにちは。質問がありますけど、〜なきゃ 〜なくちゃ の過去形はどうですか?

    1. @アレクサンドラ

      こんにちは、アレクサンドラ

      なきゃ、なくちゃの過去は= had to do somethingの場合は
      なきゃいけない→なきゃいけなかった。/なきゃならない
      なくちゃいけない→なくちゃいけなかった/なくちゃならない

      の形なら表すことができます。

      Ex. I had to go shopping. 買い物に行かなきゃ/なくちゃいけなかった。
      Ex. I had to work. 仕事しなくちゃならなかった/しきゃならなかった。

  5. Hi Maggie!

    I have a question. The next sentence:

    寝なければいけないのに、テレビゲームで遊んでしまいました。

    When changed into casual style, becomes:

    寝なきゃなのに、テレビゲームで遊んじゃった。

    or at least according to my grammar book… But my question is, why the な after なきゃ?

    Thans a lot!

    1. @Mariana

      Hi Mariana,
      寝なければいけないのに、テレビゲームで遊んでしまいました。
      the casual form is
      寝なきゃいけないのに、テレビゲームで遊んじゃった。

      If your textbook says 寝なきゃなのに, it must be a mistake. Unless it covers a super colloquial Japanese.

      In slang, you use 寝なきゃ as a noun. (It is from a quote「もう寝なきゃ(いけなない)」) Since it is considered as a noun, you use な
      寝なきゃなのに…
      もう寝なきゃだわ。(female speech)

      But this is super colloquial I doubt the textbook has that expression…

      1. マギー先生、実は日本語の教科書はもっと口語文になるんですよね。

        十年ぐらい前、初めて日本語を勉強した時に、アメリカ人の大学生に「なきゃ」と「なくちゃ」を教えますが、今年の「元気2」という教科書には、「なくちゃ」と「なきゃ」を教えます。びっくりします!

        (Trying to say: Actually, Maggie-sensei, textbooks have been getting more colloquial. I studied Japanese for the first time perhaps ten years ago, and then we were not taught なきゃ / なくちゃ, but in my Genki II textbook this year we were taught these forms! 不適切な言葉遣いがありましたら、申し訳ありません。)

        1. oops, that should say 教えませんが、not 教えますが. In my defense, I usually use plain forms as conjunctions, but I was trying to be a bit more polite for Maggie-sensei. :cry:

        2. @Eri

          こんにちは、Eri!
          そうですね、普通の会話で、「なきゃ」や「なくちゃ」はよく使うので教科書でも教えて方がいいと思います。

          Note for Eri
          Eriの日本語に、不適切な言葉はないですよ。少しお手伝いしますね。

          10年ぐらい前に初めて日本語を勉強した時には、「なきゃ」「なくちゃ」は習いませんでしたが、
          (If you want to use “were not taught” →教えられませんでした (Passive form) but 教えてもらえませんでした is more natural)
          今年の「元気2」という教科書では、〜を教えてあります。
          (If you want to use には
          今年の「元気2」という教科書には〜〜があります。or 書いてあります)
          びっくりします is fine. But you were surprised so びっくりしました/ 驚きました may be better.)

    1. @Miiko

      Not negative or positive.
      If someone is talking to oneself, it simply means “I have to do it / I gotta do it”
      If that person is talking to someone else, やらなきゃいけないでしょ= You have to do it.

  6. Sensei, Hello!
    I have a question, I’ve heard recently while watching a dorama, a character (a very very informal one) saying the positive version of nakya all the time. When he used it, it was like giving advice or telling “you should…”, so I inferred from that:
    ikya > ikereba > ikereba ii > you should go ¿? maybe ¿? Is this used to give advice as well?
    Is it some dialect? The city was Tokyo but that character used like some kind of dialect, or he was really really informal, I think
    arigatou!

    1. @Sarah

      Hello Sarah

      Yes, see my examples
      ★When you tell other people what to do.
      ★When you tell other people what to do and the possible consequences.

      They all mean “you should” or “I should” (If you are talking to yourself, “I should”/ “We should” and if you are talking to someone else what they should do “You should”)

      Ex. もっとがんばらなきゃ!= You should try harder. or I should study harder.
      Ex. 勉強しなきゃ! = You should study! or I should study!

  7. マッギ先生よろしく! 最近キンドルの本を買った「ちょっと食べちゃったパイ君」と言う。たくさん長い句がいる。

    「なくちゃいけないって」ってどういう意味? I assume the “nakucha” here is “無く”? and why does the phrase end with 「って」? Is it just a casual ending to make it more childish?

    授業とどうもありがとう!

    または, is there any specific reason to use ~かなくて versus ~かなければ or ~なきゃ vs ~なちゃ?

    皆さんが、「どちらかでもいい。」と言う。

    も、か書き直してくださいね!

    1. @Emma

      こんにちは、Emma!
      I need the whole sentence to understand the context better but
      ”なくちゃいけない” is a casual contraction of なくてはいけない 
      It shouldn’t be the state of “ない” so it means “you have to have something/ you can’t omit (skip) it”

      Ex.この文章で助詞はなくてはいけません。
      = Kono bunshou de joshi wa nakute wa ikemasen.
      = You have to have a particle in this sentence.(You can’t skip the particle in this sentence.)
      →(casual contraction)
      この文章で助詞はなくちゃいけない
      = Kono bunshou de joshi wa nakucha ikenai.

      If it combines with other verb
      Ex. 食べなくちゃいけない= tabenakucha ikenai = have to eat something
      Ex. 勉強しなくちゃいけない= benkyou shinakucha ikenai = have to study

      And I need to know the previous sentence って is usually used to quote what someone has just said.
      Someone said “~~~~~”
      →Someoneが〜〜〜って(言っていました。)

      Generally なきゃ、なくちゃ form is for casual speech.

  8. Maggie-sensei, thank you for all the help you give!

    Could you please explain this use of なきゃ?
    It’s from Over the Distance by Hitomi Yaida. I’m trying to translate it, but there are some parts that confuse me.

    空で唄えない小鳥の声みたい
    こんなに苦しい だけどあなたじゃなきゃ

    I get it up to だけど. But the use of なきゃ here is confusing me.

    Also a nakya here:
    上手く泳げないあの時の未来
    どうしても遠い だけどあなたじゃなきゃ意味ない
    (In fact, that entire verse confuses me, especially the first bit. Sorry to ask so much, but can you explain how these sentences work?)

    どうもありがとう先生!

    1. @Silver
      Hello Silver,
      あなたじゃなきゃ a casual contraction of あなたでなくては and it omitted いけない(の)
      and it means “It has to be you”

      So “(the person I love) has to be you even if it hurts me this much (the first line) / thought it is very far (the second line)

      1. 手伝い(?)ありがとう!

        Thank you! I have been wondering about that line for a long time. Now it makes sense!

        I am still confused about the second verse though :(
        上手く泳げない = Cannot swim well
        あの時の未来 = That time in the future (?)
        どうしても遠い だけど = even though it is very far
        あなたじゃなきゃ意味ない = without you it means nothing

        Have I got that right? The reason it is confusing me is the use of 泳ぐ. Is this a metaphorical phrase here, because literally it doesn’t make sense. How would you put it all together?

        [Sorry to ask so much. It is just that recently I’ve had a few hits from Japanese people looking up my English translation, and I don’t want them to be learning it wrong because my translation skills are so bad :'( I’ve put the link to it as my URL if anyone wants to check over it]

        [マギー先生は、とてもカワイイので、『マギーちゃん』 と言いたいですね!]

        1. @Silver

          (→手伝ってくれてありがとう)

          I think you are doing great.
          It is very hard to translate lyrics.
          First I will help you line by line

          上手く泳げない = Cannot swim well → Right.
          あの時の未来 = That time in the future (?) →Your translation means “未来のあの時 “That time in the future” means “the future at that time”

          Now if you put these two lines together.

          上手く泳げない あの時の未来
          You are right. It doesn’t make sense because it is a poetic expression but it means

          I couldn’t swim well in “my future” then.

          どうしても遠い だけど = even though it is very far →Fine. (It’s far but…)
          あなたじゃなきゃ意味ない = without you it means nothing →Fine but that means “あなたがいないと(あなたがいなきゃ)意味がない” the literal meaning is “It has to be you.”

          Again when you put these two lines together,

          →You are too far from me but it has to be you.

          How’s that?

          1. 手伝ってくれてありがとう!! 分かりました!

            That’s a really big help, thank you so much! I never would have been able to understand it without your explanation. So I will copy this out and read over it a few more times so I properly understand it. Thank you, Maggie-sensei and Yukari-sama!! Finally I know what Hitomi-san is singing about :D

  9. マギー先生, thank you for the wonderful breakdown of なければ・なくてはいけない to なきゃ・なくちゃ.
    It makes a lot of sense, so in fact, I quite understand it now.
    But, I do have a question about the なきゃ when it is なきゃいい. Is it なければいい? or なくていい?
    I was reading this manga, and the narration was 変われなきゃいい. I’ve only seen なければ with the negative, so it confuses me with the positive.

    Thank you!!

    1. @Tilly

      Hi Tilly,
      OK, 変われなきゃいい is a casual contraction of 変わらなければいい

      Other examples

      *しなければいい→しなきゃいい

      Ex. ~をしたくなければしなきゃいいのに。
      If you don’t want to do 〜, you don’t have to do that.

      *ならなければいい→ならなきゃいい

      Ex. そんなことにならなきゃいいが…
      = I hope it won’t happen.

      1. Maggie-sensei,

        Thank you so much for the explanation and clarification.
        Your blog is super helpful, I wish I had found it sooner!

  10. Dear Maggie san:
    Folks in Kyoto-shi say kakanaitokyaikemasen (I have to write it). My Genki 1 textbook says the modal is nakyaikemasen without “ito.” Why, and what is “ito,” please.

    1. @Gordon Tippett

      Hello, Gordon!
      I think your host family in Kyoto said
      書かないといけません。
      = Kakanai to ikemasen.

      Not
      書かないときゃいけません。
      = Kakanai to kya ikemasen.
      (This doesn’t make any sense..)

      There are a couple of ways to say “You have to do something.”
      1) ~ないといけません。(=~ nai to ikemasen.)
      →the casual contraction is 〜なくちゃいけません。(= ~ nakucha ikemasen.)
      Ex. 書かないといけません。(=kakanai to ikemasen.)→書かなくちゃいけません。(=kakanakucha ikemasen.)
      or
      2) 〜なければいけません。(= ~ nakereba ikemasen.)
      →the casual contraction is ~なきゃいけません。(= nakya ikemasen.)
      Ex. 書かなければいけません。(= kakanakereba ikemasen) →書かなきゃいけません。

      So both 書かないといけません(=kakanaito ikemasen) and 書かなきゃいけません。(‘=kakanakya ikemasen) works when you want to say “have to write”

  11. こんにちは、先生!
    一つの設問があります。 「~なくてはならない」と「~なければならない」は大体同じですか?

    もう一度、有り難うございます!!

    1. @Orti
      はい、大体同じように使っています。
      But if you want to know the slight difference,
      While なければいけない can be used to tell people what to do, なければならない is used when you have to follow certain rules, laws, certain obligations and you can’t know decide whether you do it or not on your own will.

      ( A little correction : 設問→質問)

      1. Thanks for your explanation and correction, sensei!
        what’s the difference between 設問 and 質問? they both appear as ‘Question’ in the dictionary :S
        えっと。。。 and is there any difference between “なければならない” and “なくてはならない”? :P

        1. @Orti

          質問&設問 They both mean question(s)

          質問・・・question, inquiry , when you ask someone about the things you don’t understand
          設問・・・posing a question : when you ask someone a question that you already know the answer. (to test/quiz someone)

          So when you have a question for me, 質問があります is better.
          “なければならない” and “なくてはならない”
          About the same. なければならない is slightly more formal but not much difference.

  12. ウァ。。 アンズ先生もうまく教えられますね!(^_^)/ (笑)

    このレッスンをまた楽しまれた。

    1. @Phylisscyn
      アンズ先生かわいいね! !heart!
      (A little correction : このレッスンをまた楽しまれた。→このレッスンもまた楽しかったです。)

  13. This is so useful (^^)
    but I was wondering, how does the nakya/nakucha form conjugate? Are they like na-adjectives or nouns etc? For example, if you were to say “I have to make dinner and/then I have to walk my dog”, would you say:
    ご飯を作らなきゃで、犬を散歩させなきゃ

    Thank you ^^

    1. @pudding
      Hi, pudding!
      OK since なきゃ and なくちゃ is a part of なきゃ/なくちゃいけない, you use いけない part to conjugate.

      I have to make dinner and (on top of that) I also have to walk my dog.
      You just connect two sentences using し
      = ご飯を作らなきゃ(or 作らなくちゃ)いけないし犬も散歩させなきゃ(or 散歩させなくちゃ)いけない。

    1. @stenier

      寝てないとダメ : 例(たと)えば病気(びょうき)とかで寝ている状態(じょうたい)・横たわっている状態でいないといけない人に言います。
      (Keep lying down, Stay in bed)

      寝なきゃダメ:ずっと寝ていなくて起(お)きている人に言(い)います。(You should sleep. Go to bed! )

          1. @steiner

            「聞く」is more general. 聴く is mainly used when you listen to something more attentively or intentionally listen to something. Like music, lecture, etc.
            音楽を聴く, 講義を聴く

  14. Ahmm. これ云いサイトでしょう。先生、”こちらこそ”って言うのは教えてくれませんか?ありがとう!bookmarkするはすだ!。

    1. @Ron

      Hi Ron! 来てくれてありがとう!
      「こちらこそ」の使い方ですか?

      Ex. A : 「ありがとう!」 Thank you! B : 「こちらこそ!」Me,too.
      Ex. A : 「よろしくお願いします。」Nice to meet you!B : 「こちらこそ!」 Nice to meet you,too!
      Ex. A : 「会えてうれしいです。」It’s a pleasure to meet you. B : 「こちらこそ!」Likewise
      Ex. A: 「御迷惑をおかけいたしました。」I am terribly. B : 「こちらこそ….」Me,too.

      So こちら refers to you or your side. So instead of repeating the same thing, you say this to the person.
      Is it clear?

      1. あのえ、先生。時々、”そう思います”ってか”私も”ってかを返事できろうとおもうんだ。同じ使用だろう。

        1. @Ron

          ごめんなさい。質問(しつもん)の意味(いみ)がよくわからないのですが、
          So you want to ask,
          Q : 「そう思います」と「私も」の使い方が同じですか?
          If so…they are different.
          そう思います = I think so
          私も = me,too

          If you say 私もそう思います, it means ” I think so,too.”

          1. ごめんなさい。”こちらこそ”の使い方が本当にまだはっきりわかります。質問は”そう思います”と”私も”っていうのを、時々、返事できる。ね?どうもありがとう先生。

          2. @Ron

            OK, first let me help your sentences. ”こちらこそ”の使い方が本当にまだはっきりわかります。→You know clearly how to use”こちらこそ”? Then say, こちらこその使い方はもうはっきりわかります。
            もう = already まだ = not yet
            “時々返事できる” means “You can answer once in a while.” I assume you sometimes get confused when to use “私も” and ”そう思います”
            Then I hope I answered your questions in my last comment.

            そう思います is used only when you agree with someone.
            私も just means, “me,too”
            Try these :
            Ex. 私はカレーが好きです。 Which one do you use? ” “私も” or ”そう思います”
            Ex. マギーはかわいいです。Which one do you use? ” “私も” or ”そう思います”

            If you want, follow me on twitter. We can practice there.

  15. Great lesson マギー先生!面白かったですよ~
    もうノートに書き終わりました。
    本当にありがとうございます~

    もう行かなきゃww

    1. @Danielle:Canada

      Hi, Danielle! ~なきゃ and ~なくちゃ can be used interchangeably in most cases. Some says they have exactly the same meaning but to be precise, there is a slight difference.
      ~なきゃ is a bit stronger than ~なくちゃ. If we feel something has to be done urgently or we really feel obliged to do something we tend to use ~なきゃ.

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