Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 7: 4/18

Command to do

When casual, can be shortened to just な

Verb[ます+ なさい
Register Polite
使用域 敬語
なさい is the 命令形(めいれいけい) (imperative form) of なさる, a 尊敬語(そんけいご) (honorific language) verb which specifically highlights and respects the actions of another person (never the speaker).
Despite being respectful, the fact that this is a ‘command’ means that it would never be used toward a superior. Due to this, なさい is most frequently used toward peers, or people of lower status, like children.
To use なさい, simply connect it to the ます stem of any verb.
  • 早(はや)く寝(ね)なさい
    Hurry up and sleep!
  • 遊(あそ)んでいないで勉強(べんきょう)なさい
    Stop playing and study!
なさい may be shortened further to な, which becomes an even more casual form that is used most frequently toward peers.
  • 勉強(べんきょう)
    You should study.
  • お前(まえ)悪(わる)から謝(あやま)り
    You are also at fault, so you should apologize.
Be careful not to get confused between な (the particle), and な (the shortened form of なさい). These can seem very similar, but な (meaning don’t) will always be used with the dictionary form of a verb, while な (meaning please do) will always be used with the ます stem of a verb.
  • このクッキー食(た)べ
    You should eat this cookie.
  • このクッキー食(た)べ
    Do not eat this cookie.
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
[polite command]
Hurry up and go home!
[polite command]
Eat your vegetables!
[polite command]
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 204
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 236
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 284
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 180