E.G. 言わなくても良くない

I've always been curious about this, but none of the books or classes I've had ever approached it

  • 2
    So what exactly do you wanna mean with that? A double negative that becomes a positive? – Felipe Oliveira Apr 8 '19 at 13:03
  • I'm just curious if it means anything of significance. Only ever heard used as (verb)てもいい – Roy Fuentes Apr 8 '19 at 13:04

~てもいい basically means "It's okay even if you do...", eg:

「言ってもいい」 -- "It's okay even if you say" → "It's okay to say / You may say"
「言わなくてもいい」 -- "It's okay even if you don't say" → "You don't have to say"

To say "You may not do..." or "You have to do...", you'd use ~(なく)ていけない, rather than ~(なく)て良くない (×も→◎は):

「言ってはいけない」 -- "It won't do if you say" → "You may not say"
「言わなくてはいけない」 -- "It won't do if you don't say" → "You have to say"

~て良くない, ~ていけない would usually mean "Doing ... is not good (either)":

or 「食べすぎるのも良くない/いけないが、全く食べないのも良くない/いけない。」
"Eating too much is not good, but not eating at all is not good, either."

You'd also use ~なくても良くない? at the end of a sentence in casual conversation, like this:

「学校なんて行かなくてもよくない?」 -- "You don't need to go to school, right?"
「そんなこと言わなくてもよくない?」 -- "You don't need to say that, do you?" "Do you really need to say that?"

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Your question makes no grammatical sense. The ~てもいい form means, literally speaking "Even if you do ~, it's OK" (or, in the negative, "Even if you don't do ~, it's ok"). If you want to use ~てもよくない, what you are trying to say is, "Even if you don't do ~, it's not OK". What would such a phrase mean, or how would it be used? I don't think such a phrase would make sense, so I'm going to go with a "don't do this".

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  • I'm not sure about this specific case (that's why I didn't answer the question myself), but I believe double negatives are def a thing in japanese. Your answer makes it seem like it is not. For instance the pattern ない+と+いけない。Is a double negative that ends up with a positive meaning. I guess op wants to know whether this is possible or not here. – Felipe Oliveira Apr 8 '19 at 16:35
  • @FelipeOliveira Double negatives are absolutely a thing in Japanese, that is true. However, I'm not sure what the OP is trying to say with this double-negative, and so whatever it is, is probably wrong. – Ertai87 Apr 8 '19 at 17:24

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