Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 6: 14/16


Don't have to

も can be dropped in casual speech


Verb[なくて] + ( + いい


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About なくてもいい

なくてもいい is simply the opposite of てもいい, and highlights that it is 'ok even if (A) is not done'. This usually comes across as being quite polite, and sounds like 'don't worry about doing (A)' in English.
なくてもいい is a combination of the auxiliary verb ない in its conjunction form, with てもいい.
  • ミカ(わる)ないから(あやま)なくてもいい
    Mika, you are not in the wrong, so you don't have to apologize.
  • その手紙(てがみ)もう(とど)なくてもいい
    It's okay if you don't deliver that letter anymore.
In order to make this phrase sound even more casual, the adverbial particle may be omitted. This does not change the nuance at all, but will sound a bit more friendly (when used with people that you know well).
  • 今日(きょう)会社(かいしゃ)()なくていい
    It is fine if you don't come to the office today.


  • (いそが)しいなら()なくてもいいです

    If you are busy, you don't need to go.

  • 掃除(そうじ)なくてもいいです

    I don't have to clean?

  • その(あお)セーター()なくてもいいです

    You don't have to wear that blue sweater.

  • そんなに(おこ)なくてもいい

    You don't have to be that angry.

  • これ以上(いじょう)()なくてもいい

    You don't have to drink more than this.

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なくてもいい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (8 in total)

  • packie11


    Question - why do we use verb+なくてもいい, and not verb+ないでもいい (like ないでください)? Is ないでもいい even correct grammar? Would it have a different meaning?

  • nekoyama


    Just by convention, I think. ないでもいい has the same meaning and is correct enough to appear in some dictionaries* and in literature. But it’s rare enough that a native speaker might call it wrong. On the other hand, nobody would call なくてもいい wrong.

    * E.g. the 日本語文型辞典 has an entry on ないでもよい

  • Fuga


    Hey @packie11 !

    Verb+なくてもいい is grammatically correct (Correct Japanese). Verb+ないでもいい is technically not correct, but it is commonly used in everyday conversations. Even though verb+ないでもいい is commonly used, because verb+なくてもいい is the one that is considered ‘correct’, it would be better to use verb+なくてもいい in writing and in conversations with people that are not your peers.

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