Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 7: 7/17

べからず

Do not, Must not, Should not, Cannot (べからざる)

Structure

Verb + べから
Exceptions:
する(1) + べから

Verb + べからざる + Noun
which is generally limited to:
(ゆる)べからざる + Noun
ありうべからざる + Noun
()べからざる + Noun

(1) する

Details

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    Formal

  • 使用域

    硬い

Rare Kanji

可からず

About べからず

べからず, and べからざる are two formal expressions used to convey the meaning of 'must not (A)', or 'ought not to (A)'. It is a combination of the helper-conjugation form of the auxiliary verb べし, べから, and the classical auxiliary verb ず 'not'. ざる itself is just the helper-conjugation form of ず, meaning that the nuance remains exactly the same. In this way, we can see that the literal meaning of 'ought not (A)' exhibits some sort of moral or logical obligation, as is true for all uses of べき derived patterns.
べからず and べからざる will be seen following verbs in their dictionary forms. べからざる will be followed by a noun, indicating that the noun is being modified by the phrase.
  • ことわざ:「初心(しょしん)(わす)れるべからず。」
    Proverb: 'Do not forget beginner's humility.'
  • この施設内(しせつない)ではスケートボードなどのことをするべからず
    You must not skateboard or anything similar in this facility.
  • 配達員(はいたついん)(よそお)って玄関(げんかん)のドアを()けさせるのは、(ゆる)べからざる行為(こうい)だ。
    Making someone open the door, by pretending to be a delivery person is an act that is not to be forgiven.
  • ()べからざる場所(ばしょ)でタバコを()っているのを()られたら、1000(えん)(はら)うことになります。
    If you are seen smoking in an area where you must not smoke, you will end up having to pay 1000 yen.
In modern Japanese, the meanings of both of these grammar patterns have shifted slightly from 'obligation', to simply having a strong nuance of 'don't (A)'. In addition to this, they will almost only ever be used on signs or notices.
Caution
The べからざる form that combines with nouns is usually only seen in a few set variations. These are (ゆる)べからざる 'cannot be forgiven', ありうべからざる 'must not exist' (impossible), and ()べからざる 'must not be without'.

Examples

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  • 公園(こうえん)看板(かんばん):「芝生(しばふ)にゴミ()てるべからず

    A signboard at the park: 'Do not dump rubbish on the lawn'

    • 空気(くうき)()きるに()べからざるものだ。

      Air is essential to life. (Must not lack air)

      欠くべからざるA literally means '(A) that cannot be missing'.

      • ブログ記事(きじ):「英語(えいご)上手(じょうず)にフォーマルな手紙(てがみ)()ための「べし・べからず(しゅう)

        Blog post: 'Dos and Don'ts for writing a formal letter in English skillfully.'

        べし, べからず is a phrase meaning 'dos and don'ts'.

        • もろい歴史的(れきしてき)建造物(けんぞうぶつ)手前(てまえ)看板(かんばん):「(なか)(はい)べからず

          A signboard in front of the fragile historic building: 'Do not enter inside'

          • 小説(しょうせつ):「さだおさんがなにゆえそのような(ゆる)べからざる大罪(だいざい)(おか)したのか、ゆうささん(かい)できなかった。」

            Novel: 'Yusa-san couldn't understand why did Sadao-san commit such an unpardonable crime.' (a crime that cannot be forgiven)

            許すべからざるA literally means '(A) that one cannot forgive'. (A) is usually noun like 行為 or 罪 and so on.

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            べからず – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

            • darkhelmet

              darkhelmet

              I found that this grammar point was referenced in Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar p. 29, instead of Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar p. 29.

            • mrnoone

              mrnoone

              @darkhelmet
              Thank you for the feedback!

              I have fixed the error, Cheers!

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