enter image description here Source: page 32, Ch.82 of よつばと!

My translation of the highlighted text bubble is,

Now, sleep quietly okay.

But I am confused as to why 寝てろ is used here as opposed to 寝ろ? Is it because sleep is a resultant state (something like 知っています or けっこんしています)?

After some probing I came across this but it doesn't answer the difference between usage of 〜てろ and 〜ろ form.

What I did come to know is, 寝てろ is a compact form of 寝ていろ which is imperative/command form of 寝ている. All in all, 寝ていろ is something like a command to sleep (or be in state of sleep or keep sleeping?) Why is the progressive form used here? What kind of subtlety does it add?


2 Answers 2


This type of いる is called a subsidiary verb, and what it means roughly depends on the context and the verb type. For details, see: When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

寝る is an ordinary action verb like 食べる, 走る or 勉強する. It's not an "instant state-change (aka punctual)" verb like 知る, 結婚する or 倒れる. This means when 寝て (the te-form of 寝る) is followed by いろ (the imperative form of いる), it usually means the continuation of the action (i.e., "be ~ing"). So 寝ていろ means "Be sleeping" or "Keep sleeping", while 寝ろ just means "Sleep." or "Go to bed."

  • I don't know if this deserves a separate question. Is 早く寝てろ idiomatic and grammatical? I know 寝てろ is very common. I was recently corrected by a native speaker friend who said 早く寝てろ was incorrect. They said it should be 早く寝ろ. But Google seems to show millions of hits for that exact phrase. My friend is a native speaker but moved to the US in their teens, so I am not sure if I should take what they say with a grain of salt.
    – Eddie Kal
    Aug 13, 2022 at 17:17
  • @EddieKal 早く寝てろ sounds weird to me, too. I found only about 40 hits for this. Did you enclose this in quotes?
    – naruto
    Aug 13, 2022 at 23:22
  • Oh that's probably why. But after putting it in quotation marks I still see some hits. Hmmm. Maybe I should post this as a question
    – Eddie Kal
    Aug 13, 2022 at 23:58

All in all, 寝ていろ is something like a command to sleep (or be in state of sleep or keep sleeping ?).

Correct. The difference in nuance from 寝ろ is "keep sleeping." It implies that she should keep staying in the bed/sleeping bag and sleeping, and won't wake up and make any fuss.


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