Kyō no pātī niwa muri shite shusseki shinakute mo ii yo. (You don’t have to attend today’s party if it’s too difficult.)

Situation 1: Section Chief Mr. Okubo approaches Ms. Gray, who looks a bit pale.



Gurei: Nandaka kyō wa zutto atama ga itai-n desu.

Ōkubo: Sō ka. Ja, kyō no pātī niwa muri shite shusseki shinakute mo ii yo.

Gray: For some reason, my head has hurt all day today.

Okubo: Oh, really. Well then, you don’t have to attend today’s party if it’s too difficult.

The expressions Xなくてもいいです and X必要(ひつよう)はありません, where “X” is a verb in its nai-stem, express a lack of obligation or necessity. They can be translated as “you don’t have to X” and “you don’t need to X”:


(You don’t need to drink this medicine once your fever goes down.)

In casual conversation, it is alright to drop the “です.” In fact, Xなくてもいいです suggests a concession, so it isn’t an appropriate term to use when addressing superiors:


(I don’t have to go into work tomorrow.)

I-adjectives can be used in the place of “X.” When “X” is a na-adjective or a noun, however, Xで(は)なくてもいいです is used:


(The hotel room doesn’t have to be big/It’s fine if the hotel room isn’t big.)


(The room doesn’t have to be quiet.)


(Those taking part in seminars don’t need to be students.)

Situation 2: Takako, a junior high school student, asks her teacher a question in class.



Takako: Sensei, koko ni namae o kakanakereba narimasen ka.

Kyōshi: Iie, kakanakute mo kamaimasen yo. Ankēto desu kara.

Takako: Teacher, do we have to write our names here?

Teacher: No, you don’t have to worry [about writing your names]. It’s [only] a questionnaire.

The structure Xなくてもかまいません/Xなくてもかまわない is similar to Xなくてもいいです, but implies a more trivial lack of necessity and can therefore be translated as “X doesn’t matter” or “you don’t have to worry about X”:


(It doesn’t matter if you don’t respond immediately.)

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Sere is chatting with his colleague, Mr. Mita.



セレ:ほら、[ネットの写真(しゃしん)を見(み)せる] こんなふうに生活しているんだ。








Sere: Do you know what a minimalist is? They’re people who live with hardly any things.

Mita: Ah, it seems those kinds of people are on the rise lately.

Sere: Look, [shows photos on the internet] they live like this.

Mita: Huh, there’s really hardly any furniture.

Sere: Yeah. I’d like to try living like this, too. Yuri and I both think we don’t need to have too many things.

Mita: It’d be easy to do the housework.

Sere: Yeah. And the rooms wouldn’t have to be so big, either. If we do that, then we wouldn’t have to work so hard to pay the rent.

Mita: Hmm, that kind of lifestyle, I’d love to live like that, but it’d be impossible. I wouldn’t be able to part with my kaijū (Japanese monster) collection.

Sere: Ah, Mita, you have quite a variety of collections, right?

Mita: Yeah, I work hard in order to have my collections.

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