First of all, sorry for any mistakes. English is not my native language, nor is Japanese, obviously.

Just curious, but (title). I saw some people romanizing "ように" as "you ni" and others romanizing it as "youni". The same goes for "二度と"; "nido to" and "nidoto". I know rōmaji isn't really Japanese and there are a lot of ways to write hiragana/katakana/kanji with our alphabet and bla bla bla... But what would be the best way to write these?


  • great question. i don’t think there’s any definitive answer. i’ve seen various styles used. to get the best answer, it would be be helpful to explain the context for using romaji. there’s a famous diary or novel that was written in romaji (apparently not famous enough, all i can find is something about takuboku ishikawa’s diary. it seems that diary was found posthumously. i thought there was someone who actually wrote with the intention of publishing in romaji.) anyhow, i refer to this diary because it’d be a good place to see how a native japanese approached this issue on a large scale.
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 14:59
  • Hello. Thank you for your help. Just "ように", without context. The other one was taken from a random text I saw other day. The line was "もう二度とない", which I am in doubt too. Would it be "mou nidotonai", "mou nidoto nai" or "mou nido to nai"? I think it's just preference. There is the music もう二度と - ECHOLL, which most people write as "Mou Nidoto". There are others like もう二度と… - Beni, written as "Mou Nido To..." in the English version of the Wikipedia page (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C5%8D_Nido_to...).
    – user40416
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:09
  • Slightly related question about romanization of place names: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/38786/1628
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Sep 26, 2020 at 6:19

1 Answer 1


It’s a bit of an opinionated question because it’s essentially asking about appropriate orthographic representation of hierarchical constituents in romaji, the appropriateness of which depends entirely on what the writer is trying to achieve with their romanization. ように (or ようだ anyways) and 二度と have single entries in monolingual dictionaries, so to some degree they are considered single units. The question is to what degree are the に and と seen as separable parts of the words or not.

In general I think most people have the understanding that things like に and と are not inflecting parts of a base word, but rather are clitics (i.e., suffixes with syntactic function).

Standard romanization would be to include a space there, as you would before any particle, like “watashi ga”: “you ni” etc. Some people who want to represent the more tightly-binding clitic nature of the relationship may write “watashi-ga”, so you could do similarly and write “you-ni” or “nido-to”, however this tends to only be seen in linguistics papers (an = is also seen instead of -).

The completely joined forms of “youni” and “nidoto” IMO both are simply harder to read (because they look more like some sort of nouns) and also don’t really jive with the mental model most fluent speakers would have of the structure of those terms. It feels slightly more acceptable in the case of “nidoto”, because at least the と doesn’t tend to obviously morph as much as に/な/だ/で does.

  • Oh. I see... What do you think about "もう二度とない"?
    – user40416
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:28
  • Not sure what else to add beyond the answer. The standard way to romanize it would be full separation. “mou nido to nai”. I think no space here is okay too though like I mentioned in the last sentence of my answer. Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:54
  • I can't upvote yet, so thank you very much!
    – user40416
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 17:58

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