I am quite confused as to how "見る" has suddenly changed into another word, albeit similar meaning when you do this: "見な."

My question is, how has the "na" appeared and the "ru" disappear?

  • Compare "confuse" with "confusion". They are different words but have a similar meaning. The final "e" changed into "ion". How did "ion" appear and "e" disappear? – Earthliŋ Jan 18 '14 at 15:46
  • Ah, I see the point you are trying to prove, @Earthling, however, I'm actually looking for a detailed explanation. Although analogy is a great way of explaining what happens, it does not explain how. – Myrl Jan 18 '14 at 15:49
  • Then you have to explain what you mean when you ask "how"? – Earthliŋ Jan 18 '14 at 15:56
  • @Earthling, I'm wondering whether the way of adding "na" is out of the verb bases or is it out of some verb + noun or verb + verb. – Myrl Jan 18 '14 at 15:59
  • You mean like 'what is this な here from'? – Sjiveru Jan 18 '14 at 16:02

見な is a shortened form of 見なさい, which, as you probably know, is form from the ます-stem + なさい.

These shortened forms (見な, 食べな, 帰りな, ...) are only used in spoken language.


This な, expressing an order, can be thought of as coming from a shortened version of なさい:

見なさい! → 見な!

It attaches to the 連用形 of a verb, which is the same form 〜ます attaches to:

見 + ます  = 見ます
見 + な   = 見な

動き + ます = 動きます
動き + な  = 動きな

It is easily confused with another な, which expresses an order not to do something; this other な attaches to the 終止形, which is the plain form of a verb you find in a dictionary:

動く    to move
動くな!  Don't move!

Look at the difference between the two な forms:

見な!   Look!
見るな!  Don't look!

動きな!  Move!
動くな!  Don't move!

If you don't understand why these verbs conjugate differently, you'll need to read in your textbook about the basic two types of verbs. (These are called by various names, including "Type 1 and 2", "vowel and consonant stem" and 一段動詞・五段動詞.)

  • I see, thank you for the answer, however Earthling gave the answer earlier than you have. I am grateful though, considering that you took the time to answer to my question. – Myrl Jan 18 '14 at 16:13
  • 1
    Although I should note that 終止形+な has another possible meaning. – snailplane Jan 19 '14 at 8:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.