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Japanese Grammar – te wa ikemasen (てはいけません)

てはいけません (te wa ikemasen) is a way to say “you can’t do that”.   This Japanese grammar function should always come after the te-form of the “forbidden” verb.  Let’s start by breaking down the polite and casual forms:

Polite Form: (te-form verb) + てはいけません
 Casual Form: (te-form verb) + てはいけない

 

 

For example,

子供こどもはビールをんではいけません

kodomo wa biiru o nonde wa ikemasen

(Children may not drink beer.)

kodomo wa biiru o nonde wa ikemasen

 

In our last lesson, we talked about もいいです (mo ii desu) as a way to give permission to someone who asks もいいですか (mo ii desu ka).  Although Japan is full of friendly people, it will be difficult to get permission for absolutely everything.  We need to train our ears to pick up てはいけません (te wa ikemasen) so that we don’t cross any lines!

 

いぬをレストランの中に入れてもいいですか

inu wo restaran no naka ni irete mo ii desu ka

(Can I bring my dog into the restaurant?)

すみませんが入れてはいけません

sumimasen ga, irete wa ikemasen

(Sorry, but you can’t bring your dog in here.)

inu wo restaran no naka ni irete mo ii desu ka sumimasen ga, irete wa ikemasen

 

In some places in the world, like Paris, dogs are treated like royalty and are usually allowed in restaurants.  In Japan however, you will probably get a response like the one above.

There may even be situations where you’re already doing something that you shouldn’t be.  In these cases, you will see a much shorter version:

いけない

Ikenai!

(Don’t do that!)

 だめ

dame

(Don’t!)

Ikenai!

If there’s also a glare included then you should.. you know.. stop what you’re doing.  Just cut it out, okay?

 

We can also use “te wa ikemasen” to ask permission

Although もいいですか (mo ii desu ka) is far more common for asking permission, we can also use てはいけません (te wa ikemasen) by throwing on our question particle か at the end.

ドアを閉めてはいけませんか

doa o shimete wa ikemasen ka

(Is it alright if I close the door?)

ドアを閉めてもいいですか

doa o shimete mo ii desu ka

(May I close the door?)

doa o shimete wa ikemasen ka doa o shimete mo ii desu ka

“te wa” is sometimes replaced with “cha”

In regular Japanese conversation you will see the “te wa” part of the form get changed to “tcha”.

その写真をさわっちゃいけない

sono shashin o sawacha wa ikenai!

(Don’t touch that picture!)

sono shashin o sawacha wa ikenai!

 

More Examples of てはいけません (te wa ikemasen)

ここにくるまめてもいいです。

koko ni kuruma wo tometemo ii desu

You may park the car here.

 

 

koko ni kuruma wo tometemo ii desu

ここで写真しゃしんってはいけません。

koko de shashin wo tottewa ikemasen

You must not take photo here.

 

 

koko de shashin wo tottewa ikemasen

うそをついてはいけない。

uso o tsuite wa ikenai.

(You must not tell lies.)

 

きゃくさんに失礼しつれいしてはいけない。

okyakusan ni shitsurei shite wa ikenai.

(You cannot be rude to the customers.)

 

 

okyakusan ni shitsurei shite wa ikenai.

もうかえってはいけませんか

Mou kaette wa ikemasen ka

(Can I go home now?)

 

 

Mou kaette wa ikemasen ka

コンサートちゅう携帯けいたい 電話 でんわ使つかってはいけません。

Konsaato chuu wa keitai (denwa) wo tsukatte wa ikemasen.

(You must not use your cellphone during the concert.)

 

 

Konsaato chuu wa keitai (denwa) wo tsukatte wa ikemasen.

ここでタバコをってはいけません。

Koko de tabako o sutte wa ikemasen.

(You must not smoke here.)

 

 

Koko de tabako o sutte wa ikemasen.

映画館えいがかんなか携帯けいたい使つかってはいけません。

eigakan no naka de keitai wo tsukatte wa ikemasen. 

(You must not use cellphones inside the theater.)

 

 

eigakan no naka de keitai wo tsukatte wa ikemasen. 

Okay, lets stop talking about what you can’t do!  You can come practice LIVE on Skype with your sensei:
mo ii desu ka After doing something: TE KARA
Asking Permission in Japanese: MO ii DESU KA Japanese Grammar Index After doing something: TE KARA