How to say "allow" in Japanese?

My dictionary gives the word 許す yurusu, however I don't know how to use it, and which word must be used instead, across the different specific meanings of "allow".

I organized the different meanings of 'allow', from strong (legally allow someone do something) to light (to let someone do something), and would like to know the specific word for each of these sentences/situations.

  • Smoking is not allowed inside the airport.
  • The company never allows employees to leave before 9pm.
  • The professor did not allow students to use the dictionary during the exam.
  • My parents allowed me to go to the KTV next saturday night.
  • I never allow myself to have a snack after a physical exercise.
  • The coach let him have a short rest.


The sentences simply illustrate the different meanings that the word "allow" can have, in different situations. There is no any difference with a typical question asking for the different Japanese words for "restaurant", term which, like "allow", can cover many different specific meanings. For that reason, I think closing this question is unjustified.

  • 1
    Word requests or word choice questions are okay only if you have clearly shown your own research effort and you can explain why you are unsatisfied with what you have learned so far. That's why this was okay. Grammar around allowance and causation is so big a topic that you could spend a whole book chapter on it. Not showing your knowledge and simply saying "translation please" with several random example sentences is not appropriate as a question.
    – naruto
    Oct 16, 2022 at 8:49
  • (1) To respond to the last sentence "Not showing your knowledge and simply saying "translation please": "Grammar around allowance and causation is so big a topic that you could spend a whole book chapter on it" This is exactly the reason why I did not list the different terms for "allow" in this question, because it is so complex and large it wouldn't make sense.
    – Starckman
    Oct 16, 2022 at 9:21
  • (2) On the other hand, I think turning the question in that manner (listing the different situations, but precisely, with example sentences, and articulated with a rational (for strong to light meaning)), gives a ground for answers where the basic vocabulary for such an important word are given and discussed
    – Starckman
    Oct 16, 2022 at 9:21
  • What dictionary are you using? The goo dic entry should solve most of your problems. In terms of word-choice, 許す/許可する should suffice for most cases.
    – sundowner
    Oct 16, 2022 at 9:44
  • @sundowner I use "JDict" play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ndcsolution.jdict. Thanks for the dictionary and your answer.
    – Starckman
    Oct 16, 2022 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


To be honest, 許す can work for all of the examples. I think what matters when choosing from 許す and other options is not the strength of allowing/forbidding, but the speaking/writing style you want to use.

-することを許す is sort of a translationese, and not the most basic way to put "to allow somebody to do something" in Japanese. It is common in written Japanese, but not so much in spoken and colloquial Japanese.

Other options for spoken Japanese include:


The coach let me have a short rest.



My parents allowed me to go to the KTV next saturday night.


In a family context, it seems to make sense to avoid translationese, so 行くことを許した may sound strange. However, if the sentence is part of a larger text, like a memoir, written more formally, 行くことを許した is perfectly fine here, too.

  • "but the speaking/writing style you want to use." What about a formal (spoken) style? For instance, an employee tells to a colleague that the boss allowed him/her to leave earlier? Or a student asks the teacher if he/she allows them to use a dictionary?
    – Starckman
    Oct 16, 2022 at 14:11

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