I saw a film where in two separate scenes the characters seemed to use the "imperative-prohibition" to invite the opposite action:

1.In one scene a father after explaining something to his son appeared to ask his son if he could understand what he had explained:


It was as if he had said: 「[おれのいうこと]、分かりませんか」?

2.In another scene a woman invited a child to sit on a chair that she was pointing at:


As if she had said: 「座りませんか」

In both cases I am sure I have quoted the subtitles correctly but is this really the imperative prohibition or have I missed something?

  • 1
    Those have different accent/intonation patters from the imperative prohibition (at least in the Tokyo dialect).
    – Gradius
    Aug 13, 2012 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


I think in that context, that わかるな? uses sense 3 of this entry at Daijirin to "seek agreement or a response". It might be similar to わかるよね? ("you understand, right?")

I think すわんな would be a more colloquial form of 座りな/座りなさい "sit down". I think here is a shortened form of なさい to make a command as in this entry. Note this is different from the prohibitional 座るな "don't sit".

  • 2
    To summarise: neither one is the prohibitional な.
    – Zhen Lin
    Aug 13, 2012 at 9:38
  • how common is this construct? I've never heard it before... Aug 13, 2012 at 12:56
  • Because both are considered rude.
    – Gradius
    Aug 13, 2012 at 19:02
  • @Gradius: But apparently ok to use with children (which does not sound strange).
    – Tim
    Aug 13, 2012 at 23:41
  • @Tim You can use the expressions to children (or intimate friends), but the children don't (shouldn't) use them to adults, even to their parents. It means the expressions sound rude.
    – Gradius
    Aug 14, 2012 at 6:22

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