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For some reason I can't remember how to say "try to _" or "have to (must) _" in Japanese. How can I say this? Any variations you can include would be appreciated.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Try to ~

~ようとする (Does not give any information whether the action was actually carried out in entirety)

~てみる (Try for the sake of seeing the result, does not have negative implication as in "to try (unsuccessfully )" )


have to(must) ~

~なければならない

~なくては{ならない・いけない}

~ないといけない

~ねばならない

~なくては is often contracted to ~なくちゃ

~なければならない can also be contracted and have ならない elided to form "~なけりゃ" or "~なきゃ" which is used informally.

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also ~ないとだめ, much like ~ないといけない –  Muhd Oct 29 '11 at 19:09
    
I was under the assumption that ~ようとする meant more that "I have the urge or volition to ~" and implies more of a feeling or motivation to do something "I'm feeling motivated to study" 勉強しようとする –  Mark Hosang Oct 31 '11 at 1:49
    
〜なきゃ (as mentioned) as well as 〜なくては and 〜ないと are often said with the "ending" implied. –  istrasci Oct 31 '11 at 15:34
    
Doesn't ~はず or ~べき count as should or must? –  dotnetN00b Oct 31 '11 at 18:15
2  
@dotnetN00b I don't think ~はず counts. This is because "should" in English has two uses. 1. probabilistic reasoning e.g. "The train should be arriving in 5 minutes.". 2. indication of obligation or duty (ought to do~) e.g. "I should be going home now.". ~はず does not indicate obligation or duty; it indicates the expectation of the speaker. ~べき on the other hand indicates obligation or duty. Both are "should" but neither are "must". –  Flaw Nov 1 '11 at 10:02
  • try to: ...-te みる
  • have to: ...-(a)nak-ere ba ならない

食べてみる
'try to eat'

食べなければならない
'have to eat'

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Oh yeah. I remember now. Thanks. –  Muhd Oct 29 '11 at 17:40

Some other grammar for "have to" that was not yet mentioned:

〜ことになる

This means "it has been decided that 〜", but is often used as an indirect way to say that you have to do something (even if it's been decided by you). 家族が大阪に引っ越すことになった → It's been decided that my family is moving to Osaka (= We have to move there).

More Advanced:

〜ないわけにはいかない

〜ざるをえない

〜ないではいられない・〜ずにはいられない

These all basically mean "can't not do 〜" or "can't avoid doing 〜", although the double-negative may slightly lessen the "activeness" of having to do it. この推理小説【すいりしょうせつ】を終わりまで読まないではいられません。 → "I have to / I can't not read this suspense novel all the way to the end!"

Each one has its nuances of what types of situations in which it can be used, whereas the "basic" ones in @Flaw's answers aren't limited (much, if at all).

"Most Advanced" (mostly formal and/or written forms only. Not likely used in conversation)

〜ないではすまない・〜ずにはすまない

〜ないではおかない・〜ずにはおかない

〜を禁【きん】じ得【え】ない

〜を余儀【よぎ】なくされる

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Hmm, why aren't the heading hashes {#} parsing the furigana tags?? –  istrasci Oct 31 '11 at 15:32

Found these:

Try to

Have to

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