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信じようと信じまいと Believe it or not

How is 信じる being conjugated here? I am unfamilar with the stem + まい pattern, if anyone could explain the ins and outs of that, or provide a more literal translation if that would make it easier to comprehend. Any relevant grammar terms in Japanese are appreciated. Thank you.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

~まい is the negative volitional form. Take a look at the ~まい construction on Tae Kim's Guide

In a nutshell:

  • ~まい expresses negative intention.

  • ~まい appends itself to the verb stem for 一段 verbs, and just after the verb for 五段 verbs.

    一段: 信じる > 信じまい

    五段: 行く > 行くまい

  • You cannot append the polite ending ~ます after ~まい. But ~ますまい is possible.

  • Not commonly used in spoken form.

Negative volition can also be expressed by ~のはやめよう (can be used in spoken Japanese):

  • 行くのはやめよう (Let's not go)

  • ~するのはやめよう (Let's not do ~)

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tae kim's guide hasn't been working for me but idk if that's my computer. thanks . btw what is the more common from of the neg volitional? – yadokari Dec 27 '11 at 6:32
@Flaw: Your usage rule is not quite correct. 〜まい is attached to 五段 verbs on the 終止形, e.g. 行くまい. See here. – Zhen Lin Dec 27 '11 at 7:44
@ZhenLin noted. I will amend accordingly. – Flaw Dec 27 '11 at 7:46

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