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Through this question I want to understand exactly how ぜひ is used adverbially.

My problem is that ぜひ is not behaving as I expect it to be. It appears that the English translation does not reflect its correct usage:

ぜひ: "certainly, without fail, right and wrong, pros and cons"

I take "certainly" and "without fail" to be its adverbial use.

I observe that:

  1. These sentences do not appear to me to have the sense of "certainly" and "without fail". E.g.,

    ぜひおいでください。 "We'd like you to come."

    ぜひお試しを。 "Please try our products"

    I would (poorly) interpret them as follows instead:

    "Please come without fail"

    "Try without fail"

    There seems to be some intermediate step that causes "without fail" to soften and become part of a request (the actual requesting should be from a ~てください or an implicit one).

  2. In English, "~ certainly is ~" and "to without fail be ~" and "~ without fail will be ~" are possible sentences. However, what I would expect to be the equivalent in Japanese - ぜひ~だ is ungrammatical. I seem to be misunderstanding something very important about the usage of ぜひ and I can't figure it out.

  3. From sawa's comments in "How are で and ばかりused in this expression?",

    • 是非 is an adverb expressing the first person's expectation, and has to concord with a predicate that expresses such meaning. Your first sentence with 是非 without 願う is ungrammatical.

    • Because just a copula is an assertion. There is no room for the first person's expectation to come in.

    I've been meditating on those 2 points and I guess I just don't get it. It should be because I do not understand the usage of ぜひ. In what way does ぜひ exhibit expectation?

So please tell me what have I understood wrongly.

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1  
When in doubt, check another dictionary: see sense 2 listed here. –  Zhen Lin Jan 4 '12 at 12:20

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. ぜひ does not only mean "certainly", "without fail". It has the meaning of "expressing the first person's expectation, and has to concord with a predicate that expresses such meaning" (thank to @sawa) or in a short way, "please" (thanks to @Williham).

  2. English and Japanese are two different languages, sentence structure that works in one language may not work in the other. And you can never do translation using word replacement, like from "~ certainly is ~" to "ぜひ ~ だ". There's seldom a word pair that can be translated in his way.

In all, ぜひ is not an equivalent of "certainly" or "without fail". It also has other meanings (like "please"), and not every "certainly" or "without fail" (or "please") in English can be translated to "ぜひ".

I will try to translate the explanation of the adverbial ぜひ given by 大辞泉:

1 どんな困難も乗り越えて実行しようとするさま。どうあっても。きっと。
Try to carry out an act/accomplish a task whatever difficult is met.
(May be "without fail")

2 心をこめて、強く願うさま。なにとぞ。
Ask full heartedly.
("please")

3 ある条件のもとでは必ずそうなると判断できるさま。必ず。きまって。
Under a certain condition (we) can judge that a certain result can be got.
("certainly")

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以下: ぜひ means "please"; [是非]{ぜひ} means "certainly".


It seems as what is tripping you up is that ぜひ is in fact two words:

  • [是非]{ぜひ}, meaning "certainly, without fail, right and[or] wrong, by all means".
  • ぜひ, meaning "please, preferably, without fail".

The two words are easy to conflate, as their use and meaning make them similar; and both words borrow connotations from one another.

The example sentences as such needs a bit of retranslation:

  • ぜひおいでください。 Is best translated as "Do come by.", "We'd really like you to come."

  • ぜひお試しを。 Is best translated as "Please do try our products."

    The reason for this emphasis being left out is likely that the usage in the above examples won't actually come across as needy; but with the emphasis, it would perhaps in English.

The reason ぜひ can't be used with だ alone is that だ isn't a verb. ぜひ is used adverbially, and in order to have an adverbial, you need to have a verb phrase.

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2  
In 大辞泉, there's only one entry for ぜひ/是非. –  fefe Jan 4 '12 at 14:43
    
@fefe: Be that as it may; using a dictionary for a synonym issue seems foolhardy, at best: I'm using 使い方の分かる類語例解辞典; it seems to imply that when using ぜひ as "please"; one should use kana; and when using it in lieu of 必ず, one should use kanji. –  Williham Totland Jan 4 '12 at 15:18
1  
But they are the same word. It is like 下さい and ください. It may be different usages but at the root it cannot deviate too much. –  Flaw Jan 4 '12 at 16:37
    
@flaw: Just because two words are pronounced the same and have the same meaning, that doesn't mean they are the same word! –  Williham Totland Jan 4 '12 at 17:33
1  
(1) Agree with Flaw's point. (2) Whether you have a verb is irrelevant. ぜひ走る with a verb is equally ungrammatical. –  sawa Jan 4 '12 at 21:59

@Williham-san

Using kanji(是非) to mean 'please' seems fine to me, like '是非お越しください'/'是非お試しを'.

 

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I think you probably meant to write that as a comment. –  Williham Totland Jan 4 '12 at 13:47
1  
Yes...I'm new here and don't know how to post a comment... Sorry. –  Choko Jan 4 '12 at 14:04
2  
You need 50 rep to write a comment on someone else's question/answer –  fefe Jan 4 '12 at 14:36
1  
Oh I see...Thanks. Oh now I have 49 lol! –  Choko Jan 4 '12 at 14:55

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