Different ways to say, "have to"

I’m translating Pokemon Shield and read:

ほらほら ライアン ポケモンを 助けないとだぞ。

I learn a different sentence structure in the past:

ほらほら ライアン ポケモンを 助けなければならない。

To my knowledge both of these mean hurry, Ryan, you have to save the Pokemon. Is there any substantial difference in meaning or usage? Thanks in advance!

Your second structure is wrong, the verb needs to be negative.

ポケモンを 助けなければならない。「たすけなければならない」

The first sentence is actually a similar structure, it’s just cut off. To give an example.

ポケモンを 助けないといけません。

They’re both basically conditional sentences saying that “If you don’t save the pokemon, then we can’t go on.”. Which is generally how the Japanese say “we HAVE to do this”. But the case of ないと is normally shortened with the result of the conditional omitted.


The key elements to both of these are [negative conditional] and an optional [word expressing bad things]

Basically “if you don’t [something], bad things”

In other words “you have to [something]”

There are a bunch of different negative conditionals and words expressing bad things that can be used. They can’t all be grammatically interchanged, and some go better together. But that’s the general idea.



Thanks you two, @Leebo, I feel like I much better understand what is going on here!

I found another instance that was slightly different.

霧が でてきたな
はやく みつけないと やばいぞ
The fog is coming out.
We’ll have to find it soon.

basically this one says: fog appeared, if you don’t find it quickly, danger. Correct? Same basic principle at play?

出てきた would be “came out” if you’re intending to translate literally, but yeah. Also, やばい is slang that younger people use a lot; it literally means “dangerous,” but it can also be used to say that something is “epic” or “sick” etc. in a good way. Even when it’s not being used like this though, I think やばい still feels kind of slangy compared to 危ない (あぶない). It’s like the first sentence you asked about here, except this time, the negative consequence (which is (it’ll be) やばい) is explicitly stated.

Anyway, that line was localized for the English version as: “The fog is really coming on thick now… If we don’t find that Pokémon soon, this might be trouble.”


Found the line here: https://github.com/CPokemon/swsh-text/tree/master/story

Click either ‘en.txt’ for the English transcript or ‘ja-hiragana.txt’ for what seems to actually be the kanji version.


Yes, that’s what I get from the sentence. Something like “The mist has come out, uh… It’d be SO bad if we/I/they don’t find the Pokemon…” If it’s a male speaking, then the beginning might be something like “The mist has come out, right?”


Can you tell me more about the grammar you’re noticing about the male speaker?

I think it’s pretty clear from the な and ぞ ending particles that the speaker is most likely male. (Or at least speaking in masculine language.) As an aside, I think this is the fog scene early in the game, so the speaker is probably Hop (if I remember how the scene goes). The use of な is similar to ね in that it’s seeking confirmation, but it sounds a bit more assertive than ね so I feel like translating it as a direct statement in English might make more sense than having a “, huh?” or “, right?” at the end.


Here someone answered before me :slight_smile:

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Yes, most likely, but we ought not to rule out the chances of a female trying to sound boorish every now and then… Hehe
Also, we have to keep in mind whether the speaker is alone, and if not whether they’re voicing the statement to themselves or not… It’s messy

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Awesome thank you so much. It’s these little things that make it difficult when you start translating on your own.