Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 9: 12/13


Must do, Have to do

Common abbreviations


Verb[ない] + きゃ(1) + いけない
Verb[ない] + くちゃ+ いけない

(1) なけりゃ


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About なくちゃ・なきゃ

なくちゃ (short forなくては), and なきゃ (short for なければ) are the most common colloquial abbreviations used to convey that something 'must', or 'has to' be done.

Like てはいけない (must not), なくてはいけない (must), and なくてはならない (must), these abbreviation forms can be followed by いけない, ならない, or だめ. However, they are usually omitted, without changing the meaning.

Structures like this are referred to as spoken/colloquial language. These casual variations can come across in a very similar way to words like 'gotta' in English.

In these examples, a variety of forms have been used naturally. There is no 'most natural' form, and it will often depend on the speaker as to which they choose.

As with almost all grammatical structures, the shortest variations (not including いけない, etc.) are the most casual/used the most often.

There are several other ways that these common abbreviations can appear based on region, or even an individual speaker's preference. An example of this is なけりゃ, which is a (very) casual form of なければ.

In this example, we can see that some of these less common variations are used specifically by certain genders (in general). なけりゃ itself tends to be used by male speakers, and may be considered a bit rougher than なきゃ, or なくちゃ, which can be used by anybody.



  • 日本語(にほんご)勉強(べんきょう)なくちゃいけない

    You must study Japanese.

    • (あつ)ので(みず)()なきゃいけない

      Since it is hot, you must drink water.

      • もっと文法(ぶんぽう)勉強(べんきょう)なくちゃいけない

        I must study more grammar.

        • ()いに()なきゃいけない

          I must go shopping.

          • 明日(あした)テストだからもっと勉強(べんきょう)なくちゃいけない

            Since there is a test tomorrow I must study more.

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            なくちゃ・なきゃ – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (31 in total)

            • Marcus


              I know I was in this thread asking pretty much the same question nearly four years ago, but I stopped studying for a long time. The reason I stopped is because it’s all just so very difficult! And here we go again. I hate hate hate grammar, and especially this grammar point, but this time I’m determined to fight my way through it. But I need your help!

              So, I added a self-study sentence from an anime I’m watching, but then had a thought… of course I added the answer from the anime, but I wondered what other answers would be possible here?

            • Marcus


              Yet another question if I may!

              The question asks for: “colloquial short form of ば*て+いく”

            • Charlotte_Bulman


              Is this in the wrong place? When I go through to Maggie sensei’s link provided in the notes she has tagged this as N3 level grammar!

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