There are a couple of situations where you might need to tell a person, or perhaps it would be more polite to ask someone, to stop what they’re doing. That’s exactly what today’s lesson is all about: how do you say stop in Japanese?
The first section will give you a couple of different ways of saying stop and can be used for most situations. However, there are a couple of times where another word for stop should be used, and for those ones I’ll use some examples and explanations to help clarify them.
Let’s hop right in to today’s lesson and get started!
How Do You Say Stop In Japanese
So let’s say that you’re working on something where you have to focus intently (maybe it’s a project for class or work) and you need the room to be quiet so that you can think clearly while you work.
But then someone enters the room you’re in and starts making a lot of noise by playing music on their phone. This is situation where you’d probably ask them to “stop that” so that you can have some peace and quiet.
Here’s how you would ask them to stop when speaking Japanese:
- yamete kudasai.
- Please stop (what you’re doing).
This comes from the Japanese word やめる (yameru) which simply means “to stop (an activity); to cease; to discontinue.”
In the phrase above we changed the verb from its dictionary form to the te-kudasai form which is what you would typically use when making a request. It’s a nice, polite way to ask a person to do something. Or in this case, to stop doing something.
If you’re pretty close to the other person then you can also drop the ください part and just say やめて in order to ask them to quit.
If you watch a lot of Japanese shows or anime then you may have heard やめる in a different form before. A lot of times when a guy is being attacked by a gangster or a monster he will yell for them to “stop” because he doesn’t want to get hurt or killed.
In this situation the guy usually yells やめろ (yamero) which still means “stop” but it’s in the “imperative form” which is simply the form that people use when they are making commands.
- Stop it! Don’t do that!
Then the next thing the guy usually yells is やめてくれ (yamete kure) which is still the same word, but in a different form again. This time it’s more of a pleading situation where the guy realizes that telling the other person to stop isn’t going to work and so he begins to beg for them to stop.
- yamete kure!
- Please stop! Please don’t hurt me!
This transition usually happens pretty quickly as well. Perhaps within the span of a few seconds. Watch for it next time you turn on a show.
Another way to ask a person to “knock it off” or to say “would you please stop doing that” is the phrase:
- yoshi nasai.
- Please stop that.
Both やめて and よしなさい mean the same thing, but I’ve heard that よしなさい is a little nicer than やめて.
The last word that I’ll cover in this first section is:
As I’m sure you can guess, this is a loan word taken directly from English.
This one gets used when you have to yell stop in emergency situations like if someone is driving and they’re about to run into a deer or something.
How Do You Say Wait In Japanese
Sometimes a person will forget an item as they are leaving and you need to yell at them to stop so that you can catch up to them and return whatever it is they left.
In these situations you might yell at them to “stop” but it’s also appropriate to yell for them to “wait” so they stop moving and you can catch up to them. In case you ever find yourself in a situation like this, you’ll probably want to know the Japanese word for “wait.”
- chotto matte!
- Wait a second!
In this sentence the ちょっと (chotto) part means “a little; a moment” and the 待って (matte) part is the nice way to ask a person to wait.
You can also use this for situations where a person starts doing something before they are supposed to and you want them to wait until the appropriate time.
Like if a person start’s leaving the house without you, but you still need to put your shoes on so that you can join them. That’s a situation where you might use ちょっと待って.
When You Need To Stop Your Car
[image credit: m-louis .®]
In America we use red, octigonal stop signs to let drivers know when and where to stop before they can continue driving.
In Japan, it is a little different. They still use red signs, but instead of octagons they use inverted triangles (see picture above). In addition to this, they are inscribed with the word 止まれ (tomare).
The word 止まれ is the standard word used for “stop” when it comes to vehicles. In addition to the red sign that bears it, the word is often written on the road itself in white paint.
So if you ever have the opportunity to drive in Japan, make sure you pay attention for these signs.
Other Uses of 止める
The Japanese language and the English language don’t always line up perfectly. Actually, they usually don’t line up at all and it is pretty surprising when they actually do equal each other!
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because there are other words in Japanese that are used for “stop” in English, and even though we don’t have enough time to cover ever single possibility, 止まる (tomaru) is one that I’ve heard enough to consider it worth learning.
- to stop (moving).
In addition to how it gets used to stop drivers, this word also gets used when you want to say “I can’t stop coughing” in Japanese.
- seki ga tomaranai.
- I can’t stop coughing.
This is something you might need to know in order to effectively communicate what’s wrong when speaking with a Japanese doctor.
It can also be used for other related sickness stuff like when you have a runny nose.
- hanamizu ga tomaranai.
- I have a runny nose.
It can also be used when you’ve been sneezing a lot.
- saikin, kushami ga tomaranai desu.
- Lately, I haven’t been able to stop sneezing.
You get the idea.
Now It’s Time To Stop Reading
Thanks for reading until the end! I hope this post has been able to help you learn some new Japanese words and phrases.
Let me know if you have any questions or anything by leaving a comment below! Thanks!
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: