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What is the difference between these imperative forms:

nas-ai

nas-are

nas-aimase

nas-aimashi

(As far as I understand these verb forms apply only to the honorific –aru verbs irassharu, ossharu, kudasaru, gozaru and nasaru, or am I mistaken?)

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  • Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/32706/7810 Dec 16, 2017 at 4:46
  • So, the difference is stylistic and is not related to the meaning in any way (adding nuances, etc.). I’d appreciate it if someone could give me a hint on how these four forms came about (e.g. from different dialects, sound changes and reduction over time, etc.)
    – user18849
    Dec 16, 2017 at 12:57

2 Answers 2

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nasai and nasaimase are イ音便 forms for nasare and nasarimase. nasaimashi is an uncommon alternative for nasaimase. nasai and nasaimase are different in that mase is more formal (for a customer perhaps) and might give a kind of refined air to it in some cases.

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You could hear nasai and rarely nasaimase in formal situations but won't nasare and nasaimasi. The latter two are archaic.

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