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I'm aware that 行かない means "don't go" (hope I'm not wrong).

What I don't understand is the function of で. What's its use in this sentence? (I usually see that character used in です).

marked as duplicate by Chocolate grammar May 10 '18 at 0:00

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The で indicates a request. Incidentally 行かない means "won't go" - 行かないで is "don't go".

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いかないで, without any other context, is the short way of saying いかないでください, "please don't go". A Japanese verb ending with the positive て or negative ないで as a single, one-word sentence, is a "please do / please don't" situation:

走らないで(ください)(please) don't run

座らないで(ください)(please) don't sit down

喋らないで(ください)(please) don't talk

来て(ください)(please) come

見て(ください)(please) look

聞いて(ください)(please) listen

omitting ください is often done in casual conversation. It can also give the request a strong feeling when it is omitted.

  • This answer sounds legit to me. No idea why the downvote. – alex May 9 '18 at 14:31
  • I get a lot of downvotes, unfortunately. Many are reasonable, in the sense that my answers come from personal experience, and are not very technical or linguistically detailed. Some I suspect are "trollish", but I do make mistakes, so I try not to judge. – ericfromabeno May 9 '18 at 14:35
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    Again, not me who downvoted, but you say "If you ever see a Japanese verb ending with the positive て or negative ないで, by itself, it is always a "please do / please don't" situation:" and that's just not true. The "ないで" form has more uses than just a negative command/request. Do you have a grammar reference book or something that you can use to double check your first thoughts for answers? – Leebo May 9 '18 at 22:15
  • interesting. Sorry, I don't have such a book readily to hand, though I suppose the internet could provide. ...If I changed my statement to "Japanese verb root form with the positive て or negative ないで, by itself with no other context, it is a "please do / please don't" situation:" .... would that be a correct statement, because that is what I meant. – ericfromabeno May 10 '18 at 7:06
  • I assume you're referring to the way て is used to link multiple verbs in a single sentence, for tense agreement purposes, but that is not what the questioner was addressing in their question. – ericfromabeno May 10 '18 at 7:10

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