15

寝ていい?

I've learned that to ask permission for doing something, you needed to use ~てもいい but the more I read japanese, the more I come across ~ていい. What is the difference ? Is the latter a colloquial version of ~てもいい ?

15

There is a difference even though it might be fairly subtle. The difference is one of nuance and probability; It has little to nothing to do with formality/colloquiality.

「Verb in Te-Form + いい?」

The speaker would tend to possess a firm desire to perform the action and he is seeking permission to do so.

Upon receiving the permission, therefore, there is a high chance that he would actually take the action.

「Verb in Te-Form + + いい?」

The speaker is surely considering taking the action for which he is seeking permission, but his desire to actually perform the said action would often tend to be less firm than that of the person who does not use the 「も」.

Upon receiving the permission, there is a good chance that this person (speaker) might actually opt to take a completely different action.

For this reason, adding a 「も」 makes both the question and the questioner sound less pushy or self-assertive.

  • 1
    What about when 「ていい」 is used to give permission that has never been asked for? Like 「言っていいよ」, when the speaker simply noted that someone's hesitating to say something. Does it have a different nuance from 「言ってもいいよ」? – E. Matsunaga Oct 11 at 13:16
3

As I know, verb with te-form + もいい often used to asking permission about what you want to do (i.e. sleeping in your question as indicated by 寝る => 寝て in te-form). Before advancing to the usage, there are basic patterns when asking for permission to someone else:

1) te-form verb + もいい (casual)

2) te-form verb + もいいですか (polite)

3) te-form verb + もいいでしょうか (more polite)

4) te-form verb + もかまいませんか (also more polite)

5) te-form verb + もよろしいでしょうか (very polite)

In more casual conversation the "も" usually omitted, it shortened to "ていい" instead.

So that 寝ていい is a shortened form of 寝てもいい (can I sleep?) in casual situations, as given by examples:

In casual speech, 「~てもいい」 sometimes get shortened to just 「~ていい」.

(1) もう帰っていい?- Can I go home already? (from もう帰ってもいいですか。)

(2) これ、ちょっと見ていい?- Can I take a quick look at this? (from これ、ちょっと見てもいいですか。)

Note that なく is used before ても to form negative context (can/will it be good if don't...). If the verb ends with "む" like 読む or 進む (which changes to ~んで), the ~でもいい form used instead of ~てもいい.

  • Downvoter: What's going wrong in my explanation above? Please let me know & edit to provide proper information. – Tetsuya Yamamoto Sep 18 '17 at 1:34

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.