I've asked this to several native Japanese speakers, but I've gotten varied responses so I thought I'd put it out here.

Which feels 'stronger', ie more forceful:

(1) そこに行かないでほしい
(2) そこに行ってほしくない

To me, ~ないでほしい feels like it's a little more forceful. Then again, both are probably translated the same way in English. So what's the verdict?


Both are rather simply using ほしい, and I personally do not think there is a clear difference in the level of forcefulness.

The literal translation of these two sentences are different also in English:

(1) そこに行かないでほしい。 I want you not to go there.
(2) そこに行ってほしくない。 I do not want you to go there.

Sentence 2 is theoretically ambiguous; it usually means the same thing as Sentence 1, but its literal meaning is closer to "I'm not saying I want you to go there." (i.e., if you want to go there, I don't want to stop you, either.) Therefore, some people may say Sentence 1 is more direct, explicit, and thus sounds a little "stronger". But practically, these are almost always safely interchangeable.

  • "I want you not to go there" is not a very natural sounding sentence in English
    – kandyman
    Oct 11 '17 at 18:17
  • 2
    "I want you not to go there" sounds fine to me, although "I don't want you to go there" is presumably more common.
    – user1478
    Oct 11 '17 at 20:33

明確に(1)の方が強い要求をしています。 narutoさんが書かれたように、(2)は「私の望みは伝えるが、どうするかはあなた次第だ」と言う含みを持たせています。



Which feels 'stronger', ie more forceful:
(1) そこに行かないでほしい
(2) そこに行ってほしくない

I encountered this kind of question asking "Which one of the sentences with (1) and (2) has a stronger meaning?" for the first time in my life.
I read both, but I couldn't distiguish the strength between them in a moment. Therefore, it was possible that the native speakers of Japanese you knew made various responses.
Thinking about them theoretically, as you guessed (1) will be stronger. Because (1) is requesting the opponent "not going there" and (2) refuses the opponent "getting to arrive there". You probably couldn't understand what I'm talking about in this explanation. I'll explain the feeling I received from them in a bit more detail. (1) refuses all of the acts going there from the beginning to the last, in other words it seems to refuse even to leave here. However, in (2), the speaker cares nothing for the oppornent leaving towards there, but he/she only refuses the opponent to arrive there. This feeling is my personal feeling, so it may be different from person to person.

If I think about which one I usually use when I want to say more strongly, it is probably (1). But in reality, I don't think much about which one to use, instead I would enhance the effect of strength by strengthening the parts of the sentence whichever I chose.

"Strengthening the parts of the sentence" is meant to "pronounce strongly with a loud voice". As shown below, boldface is a part that is strengthened by the strong intention.

  • 《stronger》そこに行かないでほしい > そこに行かないでほしい 《weaker》

  • 《stronger》そこに行ってほしくない > そこに行ってほしくない 《weaker》  



「(1) と (2) のどちらが強いか」というような質問に初めて出会いました。

理屈から言うと、あなたの推察通り(1)でしょう。 何故なら、(1)は、「行かないこと」を要求しており、(2)は「行き着くこと」を拒否しているからです。これでは何だか分からないでしょうが、私の受け取る感じでは、(1)は行って欲しくない地点へ向けてスタートすることすら拒否しているようですが、(2)では、行って欲しくない地点に向けてスタートすることは問題にしておらず、その地点に到着することを拒否しているように思います。この感じはあくまでも個人的なもので、人によって違うのかもしれません。

より強く言いたいとき、私は普段どちらを使うかなと考えると、多分(1)ですが、実際には、どちらとは考えず、語気を強めることで、強さの効果を高めているように思います。 「語気」とは、「発言する言葉の勢い」ですが、「語気を強める」とは、「大きな声で強く発音する」ことです。太字 (boldface) は語気を強めた部分です。

  • そこに行かないでほしい > そこに行かないでほしい

  • そこに行ってほしくない > そこに行ってほしくない 

  • ご丁寧に説明してくださってありがとうございました!
    – kandyman
    Oct 11 '17 at 18:21

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