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Lesson 259: Have to do - ないといけない

To say that you have to or must do something, you can use a verb in plain negative form + ~と いけない.

I’m so tired. I have to sleep soon. もう、とてもつかれている。すぐないといけない。
mou, totemo tukarete iru. sugu nenai to ikenai.
That teacher’s class is hard. The homework has to be written in Japanese. あのせんせいじゅぎょうむずかしいです。宿しゅくだいほんかないといけない。
ano sensei no zyugyou ha muzukasii desu. syukudai ha nihongo de kakanai to ikenai.

You can also use いけません in place of いけない to make the sentence more formal.

We have to clean before the guests come. きゃくさんがまえに、そうしないといけません。
okyakusan ga kuru mae ni, souzisinai to ikemasen.

It's also possible to replace といけない with とダメです. ダメ essentially means no good, but it can also mean cannot/not allowed. Note that ダメ is spelled using katakana here, but in other cases it's often spelled using hiragana.

Children have to go to school every day. どもまいにちっこうかないとダメです。
kodomo ha mainiti gakkou ni ikanai to dame desu.

In very informal situations you can simply use the verb in plain negative form + ~と, omitting the final いけない.

Watch out. It’s super hot. You have to drink some water. けてね。めちゃあついだ。おみずまないと。
ki wo tukete ne. metya atui da. omizu wo nomanai to.

There are also different ways to say must do, but we will look at those in a later lesson.

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