If someone is bothering you or is making you uncomfortable, you need to tell them, “stop it!” やめてください (yamete kudasai) is one way to tell someone to stop doing something in Japanese.
Today, let’s look at the different ways to say “stop it” in Japanese and the appropriate situations to use them in. We also take a look at the many different ways to use やめる (yameru).
(Ōgoe de hanasu no wa yamete kudasai.)
Please stop talking loudly.
The basic definition of やめる (yameru) is “to stop.” Adding ください (kudasai), which means “please,” at the end makes it a polite way to ask someone to stop doing something:
やめてください (yamete kudasai): Please stop that. / Please don’t do that.
(Hashirimawaru no wa yamete kudasai.)
Please don’t run around.
The Many Forms of やめる (Yameru) in Japanese
There are many forms of やめる (yameru). The form you use will depend on the situation and how polite (or rude) you would like to be. We’ll cover the following forms and more:
- やめてください (yamete kudasai): Please stop
- おやめください (oyame kudasai): Please stop
- やめて！ (yamete!): Quit it!
- やめよう (yameyō): Let’s stop that
- やめなさい (yamenasai): Stop that
- やめてくれ (yamete kure): Knock it off
- やめろ！(yamero!): You better f-ing stop!
We’ll also take a look at other expressions to say “stop it” in Japanese. This list starts off with polite expressions, and gets more informal/rough as you go down this list.
1. やめてください (Yamete Kudasai): Please Stop (That/It)
やめてください (yamete kudasai) is a polite way to ask someone to stop doing something. You can use this expression if someone is bothering you or is doing something unpleasant/wrong. It is written in both:
(Shashin satsuei wa yamete kudasai.)
Please do not take any pictures.
(Osu no wa yamete kudasai.)
Please don’t push me.
2. おやめください (Oyame Kudasai): Please Stop (That/It)
While やめてください (yamete kudasai) is a polite way to say “Stop doing that,” it can sound a little strong and direct. This is especially true if you say it forcefully or angrily (although, in some situations, this would be appropriate).
If you need to be very polite to someone (your customer, strangers, etc.), you can say おやめください (oyame kudasai). The honorific お (o) makes this expression more polite than やめてください (yamete kudasai).
(Koko de tabako o sū no wa oyame kudasai.)
Please do not smoke here.
(Inshokubutsu no mochikomi wa oyame kudasai.)
Please do not bring any drinks and food inside.
3. お控え下さい (Ohikae Kudasai): Please Stop That, Please Refrain From ~
お控え下さい (ohikae kudasai) is also a polite way to say “stop doing ~.”
おやめください (oyame kudasai) and お控え下さい (ohikae kudasai) are interchangeable in most situations. However, お控え下さい is closer in nuance to “please refrain from doing ~.”
(Koko de tabako o sū no wa ohikae kudasai.)
Please refrain from smoking here.
(Inshokubutsu no mochikomi wa ohikae kudasai.)
Please refrain from bringing any drinks and food inside.
4. 止めて (Yamete): Stop, Quit It
If you say やめて (yamete) without the ください (kudasai), it becomes an informal and casual way to tell someone to stop doing something. It sounds stronger than やめてください (yamete kudasai). Both men and women can use this expression. It is often used among friends, family, and co-workers (in casual situations).
1. A child started to play during dinner time. Mother says…
(Asobu no wa yamete kichin to tabenasai.)
Stop playing and eat your dinner.
2. If your friend starts to tease you and you want them to stop, you can say:
3. Your kids are running around the house while you try to work:
(Hashirimawaru no yamete! Ima shigotochū nan dakara!)
Stop running around! I’m working right now!
4. Husband and wife are arguing. If the husband starts to yell, the wife may say:
(Donaru no wa yamete!)
Stop yelling at me!
5. A mother calls her son by his baby nickname. Her son might say…
(Okāsan, boku wa mō akachan janain dakara sono yobikata wa yamete!)
Mom, I’m not a baby anymore, so stop calling me that!
5. 止めよう (Yameyō): Let’s Stop It
This is the volitional form of yameru. It is used to suggest or ask someone to stop doing something. The volitional form of verbs is often translated as “let’s” (as in, “let’s go”) or “shall” (as in, “shall we go”) in English.
(Kenka wa yameyō ne.)
Stop fighting, okay? (A mother telling this to her kids)
(Ashita wa tenki ga warusō dakara kyanpu ni iku no wa yameyō.)
It looks like it will rain tomorrow, so let’s cancel the camping trip.
(Karada ni warui kara tabako wa yameyō.)
Smoking is not good for your health, so you should quit.
6. 止めなさい (Yamenasai): Stop It
This is an imperative form of やめる, so you should never use this phrase with people you don’t know well or who have a high social status than you. In fact, やめなさい (yamenasai) is most commonly used by parents and teachers to give commands to their kids. It is frequently written in hiragana instead of kanji.
(Mō gēmu o suru no wa yamenasai.)
Stop playing the game.
(Daradara suru no wa yamenasai.)
Stop being lazy.
(Fuzakeru no wa yamenasai.)
Stop fooling around.
7. やめてくれ (Yamete Kure): You Better Stop It!, Knock It Off
やめてくれ (yamete kure) is mainly used by men. The くれ (kure) in this expression comes from the verb くれる (kureru), which means “to receive.” It is used when someone gives you something, does something for you (“to receive” a favor), or when you want to ask someone for a casual favor.
By shortening the くれる to くれ, you are demanding that someone do something for you. Therefore やめてくれ (yamete kure) has a nuance of “you better quit it” or a very blunt “stop it!”
That’s why やめてくれ is usually used when you’re frustrated or angry towards someone or something. You would NOT use this expression to be polite. You would use this when you need to make it clear that you need someone to quit doing someone RIGHT NOW.
Of course, it can be used more lightly between friends and family to tell someone to “knock it off” or “give it a rest.”
It is both written in hiragana or kanji like this: 止めてくれ (yamete kure).
1. A father tells his kids to keep it down:
(Urusai kara mō sukoshi shizuka ni shite kureru kai?
You guys are being a little loud, so could you keep it down?
His kids don’t listen and continue to scream and be loud.
(Mō yamete kure!
Knock it off already!
8. 止めろ (Yamero): Stop It! Knock It Off
This is a rough way of saying “stop!” in Japanese. It is usually said by men when they are angry. As you can guess, you would not use やめろ (yamero) in polite situations. This word is for times when people can’t take a hint and don’t stop even after you ask them nicely.
1. A father is telling his kids to keep it down:
(Urusai kara mō sukoshi shizuka ni shite kureru kai?)
You guys are being a little loud. Can you keep it down?
His kids are still making a lot of noise. So the father says again:
His kids still don’t listen and are making even more noise. This makes the father angry, so he yells:
Knock it off!
9. いいかげんにして！(Iikagen Ni Shite!) / いいかげんにしろ！(Iikagen Ni Shiro!): That’s Enough!, Knock It Off!, Shut Up!
Another similar expression to やめろ (yamero) is いいかげんにして！(iikagen ni shite!) or the even harsher, いいかげんにしろ！(iikagen ni shiro!).
いいかげんにして！(iikagen ni shite!) is more often used by women and いいかげんにしろ！(iikagen ni shiro!) is commonly used by men. Both expressions are rough and express feelings of being fed up, frustrated, or angry.
These expressions “should” only be used with close friends or family. However, Japanese people will say this to their co-workers or strangers when angry, or the other person won’t stop (doing something annoying).
A child and mother are a shopping mall:
Kodomo: (Okāsan, omocha katte yo.)
Child: Mom, buy me a toy.
Okāsan: (Kyō wa kawanai yo.)
Mother: I’m not buying it today.
Kodomo: (Okāsan, omocha katte tte ba!)
Child: Mom, I said buy me that toy!
Okāsan: (Kyō wa omocha o kai ni kitan janai kara mata kondo ne.)
Mother: We didn’t come here to buy toys. Maybe next time.
Kodomo: (Yada yada! omocha katte tte ba!)
Child: Nooooo! Buy it!
Okāsan: (Iikagen ni shite!)
Mother: You better knock it off!
10. Kanji: Different Ways to Write やめる (Yameru)
There are two different ways to write やめる (yameru) is written in everyday Japanese:
The pronunciation of these two words are exactly the same, but the meaning changes based on the different kanji characters used.
止める (yameru) is a word used to stop, cancel, or end an action that has been continuing for a period of time. For example, 止める can be used to say that you’ll “stop drinking” or “cancel your travel plans.”
On the other hand, 辞める (yameru) is only used when you quit, resign, or leave your job /position.
(Jogingu ni ikō to omotteita ga, ame ga futte kita no de yameta.)
I was thinking of going for a jog, but it started raining, so I decided not to.
(Watashi no chichi wa sakunen kaisha o teinen de yamemashita.)
My father retired last year.
(Makoto no otōsan wa kotoshi no haru ni shachō o yamete, musuko ga kaisha o hikitsugimashita.)
Makoto’s father resigned as president this spring, and his son took over the family business.
Spoken Vs. Written Japanese
やめてください (yamete kudasai) is mainly used in conversations. For written Japanese (which you’ll often see on signs), the word “禁止 (kinshi)” is used. “禁止 (kinshi)” means “prohibited.”
Examples: Signs in Japan
(Tabako no poisute kinshi)
No littering of cigarettes
Photography is prohibited.