After getting an answer to this question I came across this article which states (without giving an alternative) that you can't say:

1.「歌い もしない」- "Can't even sing"
2.「書き もしない」- "Can't even write"

The reason given is that you can't form a noun out of 「歌う」and 「書く」this way.
If this is the case then how can one say "Can't even sing\write"?

As a side note I find it ironic that I can't even write "I can't even write".



1 Answer 1


The article doesn’t say you can’t say 歌いもしない and 書きもしない. You can. It says you can’t take out the ます-stem of any verb and take it as a noun. You read it the way you did because you assume anything that comes before any particle must be a noun.

書きもしない is a valid form that means someone doesn’t even write (something). There is no sense of potentiality in it. To add it, you have roughly two options.

One is to turn the verb into its potential form and put it in the [V ます-stem]-もしない pattern.


Alternatively, you can first turn the verb into a noun phrase with こと and make it the object (or grammatical subject) of できる.


  • The article explicitly states that you can't say '笑うこと ( or 笑うの)が止まらない' . It also explicitly says that you can't form nouns out of every verb by taking its い-stem (ます-stem) and gives 歌う and 書く as examples of such verbs and consequently can't use it in the formula '[V ます-steam] + もしない]' so that '歌いもしない' is the incorrect way of saying "Can't even sing". I understand the rest of your answer but the first paragraph contradicts the resource I gave - if the resource is wrong that's okay but please explain why. Jun 16, 2023 at 5:15
  • 3
    @UriGreenberg The article mentions 歌い, one time, as far as I can tell, just as an example how it doesn't work as a standalone noun. It never says you can't say 歌いもしない. The fact that 歌い alone doesn't work as a standalone noun is unrelated to the fact that 歌いもしない is fine.
    – Leebo
    Jun 16, 2023 at 6:06
  • I see. Thank you for the clarification! Jun 16, 2023 at 6:11

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