There are many reasons you might want to tell, ask, or even beg someone to stop in Japanese. You might want to ask them to stop politely, or even scream at them at the top of your lungs to cease their actions immediately.
Regardless of which route you take, when you want to say stop to someone in Japanese, the context is important. Which expression you’ll need to say stop in Japanese will depend entirely on your situation, and of course, how you wish to say it.
In English, we use the word “stop” in many situations. There is a specific word for the word “stop” in Japanese. However, we don’t literally say “stop” in Japanese in the same situations as we would in English.
For instance, say you’ve decided that you’re going on a diet, you announce that you’re going to stop eating high sugar foods. In Japanese, the word literal word for “stop” wouldn’t even appear in the sentence here. Instead, there are other ways to express that you’re going to stop.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, I should stop for now before I confuse you too much. In this ultimate guide, I list all the ways you can say stop in Japanese. All expressions are fully elaborated on, with examples and explanations.
No matter if you’re simply looking for an easy way to say “stop” in Japanese, or if you’re an advanced learner, I’ve tailored this guide to support you.
Table of Contents
Quit it/Stop it in Japanese
- Stop it/Quit it.
At times when you want to ask someone to discontinue doing something, you can use やめて (yamete). If they are winding you up, being a nuisance or distracting you, you’ll want to ask them to stop it. For instance, perhaps you’re trying to focus on your work, but someone keeps playing loud videos on their phone.
You can say:
sore wo yamete!
You can attach それを (sore wo) to the beginning of the expression to make it “stop that” in Japanese. Of course, this is optional, and by using やめて (yamete) by itself in this context you can say “stop it” in Japanese.
You can also use やめて (yamete) to suggest that someone should quit, or stop doing something.
shigoto wo yamete.
Just quit your job.
Albeit, this is a very direct way of suggesting to someone that they should just quit their job. Perhaps they have been complaining to you for what seems like forever about how awful their job is. At this point, you tell them to just quit their job.
Maybe you’d like to suggest it to them a little more nicely:
shigoto wo yameta hou ga ii to omou.
I think you should just quit your job.
By using やめたほうがいいと思う (yameta hou ga ii to omou) you say “I think you should quit X” in Japanese.
Simply place any noun before をやめたほうがいいと思う (wo yameta hou ga ii to omou) and you can tell someone “I think you should quit [Insert noun here].”
Please keep in mind that the expressions in this entry are all casual. Therefore are best off used with people you are close with!
Please Stop it
- Please Stop it.
yamete kudasai/ yamete onegai.
When you want to ask someone to discontinue/cease doing something with a good old “please,” you can say やめてください (yamete kudasai) or やめてお願い (yamete onegai).
The main difference between these two is that やめてください (yamete kudasai) is a polite expression. Whereas やめてお願い (yamete onegai) is more casual.
やめてください (yamete kudasai) has two uses:
- Used to show respect when speaking to those of higher status than you.
- Used when you want to tell someone to “stop it” firmly.
In regards to the first use, the Japanese language has Keigo, a style of speech that must be used when showing respect (in the workplace/to strangers/higher-ups etc.).
Secondly, you can use やめてください (yamete kudasai) to tell someone kindly, yet firmly to stop what they’re doing. Perhaps you’ve already thrown all the やめて’s (yamete) at them, but they’re just not listening. In this case, you could hit them with a firm やめてください (yamete kudasai). Essentially, “Please, stop it” in Japanese.
やめてください (yamete kudasai) can be used as a firm expression because using Keigo is also a way to create distance between you and someone else. It’s an indirect way of telling them you’re getting annoyed with them, and it’s probably best for them to stop.
On the other hand, やめてお願い (yamete onegai) more-so emphasises your request for them to stop what they’re doing. It’s a slightly more casual expression, meaning that you can use it when speaking with friends. It still means “please” but without the connotations of firmness.
You use やめてお願い (yamete onegai) when you’re asking someone to stop (please), whereas using やめてください (yamete kudasai) would mean that you’re telling them to stop (please).
Stop it Now! in Japanese
- Stop it Now!
Alright, now you’re angry. You’ve asked them to stop it, maybe you’ve also told them to “go away” or “shut up” in Japanese too. But they’re just not listening to you. When you want to yell at someone to stop in Japanese, you’ll want to use やめろ (yamero).
You may have heard protagonists in Japanese movies or anime shout やめろ (yamero). Imagine a scene where the antagonist takes the protagonist’s friend hostage, so they yell out in frustration やめろ! (yamero!), “Stop it now!”
やめろ (yamero) is a very forceful expression to use in real-life conversation though, so you should be careful in how you use it. This is because やめろ (yamero) is the imperative form of the verb やめる (yameru), to quit. When a verb is in the imperative form, the strength of the verb is elevated to that of a command or order. This is the absolute difference between やめて (yamete) and やめろ (yamero). A playful request vs an outright demand.
This means that when you say やめろ (yamero) to someone, you’re ordering them to cease their actions and stop what they’re doing now. Of course, being an order, you can imagine that being ordered by someone to stop wouldn’t be very nice… So use やめろ (yamero) sparingly!
Stop it Please in Japanese (Begging)
- Stop it Please (begging).
You’ve exhausted all of your energy, so now it’s time to resort to begging them to stop. To plead for someone to stop, you can say やめてくれ！(yamete kure!). We previously established that やめて (yamete) as a way to say “stop/quit it” in Japanese.
The addition of くれ (kure) here is a casual version of くれる (kureru). When くれる (kureru) is used in Japanese, it works the same as saying “for me” in English.
So quite literally, やめてくれ！(yamete kure!) means “Stop it, for me.” in Japanese. Because the る (ru) in the くれる (kureru) is absent here, you usually phrase the expression as a direct sentence, rather than as an expression. Saying the expression like this really emphasises how desperate you are for them to stop.
When you want to ask someone nicely if they could quit something for you, you can use やめてくれる? (yamete kureru?). If you phrase it like a question, it’s more polite, rather than telling someone to stop.
tabako wo yamete kureru?
Could you quit/stop smoking for me?
When you use this expression, you really emphasise that you want someone to stop doing something for your benefit/purpose.
No in Japanese
With all these ways of saying stop in Japanese, how do you reply to them? What if someone asks you to stop doing something, but you want to refuse their request? There are plenty of ways you can do this! You can learn how to forge the perfect response with this ultimate guide on all the ways you can say No in Japanese!
I’m Stopping (quitting) Something
- I’m stopping/quitting X.
X wo yameru.
Perhaps you don’t want to refuse someones request to stop, but you want to agree. You could reply with a simple no problem, or you could try a direct approach. Xをやめる (X wo yameru) is a sentence structure template you can use to say you’re going to quit/stop something specific in Japanese.
Simply replace the X with the thing it is you’re quitting. For instance, picking up on the previous example where someone asks you if you’ll quit smoking, you can reply:
wakatta. tabako wo yameru.
Got it, I’ll stop smoking.
I added the わかった (wakatta) here for extra fluidity, but it’s completely optional.
In situations where it is understood by both the speaker and listener what the subject of conversation is, you can use やめる (yameru) by itself. Perhaps you’ve been asked by your partner if you could stop eating chocolate late at night because it’s making you fat. You could say:
Got it, I’ll stop.
Again, the わかった (wakatta) is optional here and やめる (yameru) by itself would suffice as a complete sentence.
If you don’t want to stop because eating four bars of white chocolate Toblerone a night feels so good:
I’m not going to stop.
Stop! in Japanese
When you want to ask someone to physically stop something in Japanese, you can say 止めて (tomete). This is different from the やめる (yameru) expressions above, as 止めて (tomete) has no implications of quitting something. It’s strictly about stopping.
止めて (tomete) is the te-form of the main verb of “to stop” in Japanese, 止める (tomeru). The te-form has many uses, and in this case, it’s used to turn the verb into a request.
For instance, perhaps you’re asking someone who’s driving to stop the car.
kuruma wo tomete。
Stop the car.
Like most situations in Japanese, when the context is already understood by both the speaker and listener, you can omit the subject. In this case, you could just say 止めて (tomete) “stop” by itself.
Saying 止めて (tomete) is something that you should do only with people you are close with. It is a very casual way to say “stop” in Japanese. For a polite way to say “stop,” we can use 止めてください (tomete kudasai), which essentially means “stop please” in Japanese.
To Come To a Stop in Japanese
- To come to a Stop.
The main difference between 止める (tomeru) and 止まる (tomaru) is that they are transitive and intransitive verbs respectively.
- A transitive verb is where the object of the verb is explicitly mentioned. An action is done to an object.
- Whereas an intransitive verb describes the behaviour of the object itself.
For instance, we could say:
watashi ha t0kei wo tomeru.
I’ll stop the clock.
Here, there is an action being done to an object. The clock is being stopped by me. This makes it a transitive verb.
On the other hand, if we say:
tokei ga itsumo tomaru.
The clock always stops.
There is no object that is stopping the clock. It stopped by itself without an object directly interfering. This is an intransitive verb.
Let’s take a look at another example. Imagine you’re on a train and it suddenly comes to a stop. You might say:
densha ga tomatta.
The train suddenly stopped.
In this sentence, the emphasis is on that the train has stopped. Not who/or what has stopped it specifically. Therefore, it’s intransitive.
It Won’t Stop in Japanese
- It Won’t Stop.
X ga tomaranai.
When you want to say that something won’t stop in Japanese, you can use the X止まらない (X ga tomaranai) sentence structure as a template. Simply replace the X with the thing that won’t stop.
For instance, say you’ve just woken up in the morning, and your alarm is making the craziest sound. You try to turn it off, but for some reason, it won’t. It definitely does the job and gets you out of bed, but no matter what you do, it won’t stop. Now let’s apply this scenario to the sentence structure.
mezamashi tokei ga tomaranai!
The alarm clock won’t stop!
The X止まらない (X ga tomaranai) is super flexible, you can use it for a wide array of scenarios and occasions. Maybe you’re feeling super happy:
sugoku ureshikute egao ga tomaranai!
I’m so happy I can’t stop smiling!
Maybe you’re enjoying a new book, movie series, or Zelda video game:
kono ge-mu ga tanoshisugite tomaranai
This game is too fun I can’t stop.
Stop What You’re Doing! Halt! in Japanese
To tell, or order someone to stop/halt in Japanese, you can say とまれ (tomare). Like やめろ (yamero), (explained above,) とまれ (tomare) is also an imperative form verb. とまれ (tomare) is the imperative of the verb 止まる (tomaru), to stop in Japanese.
Being an imperative form verb means that the verb has been transformed into a command or order. This means that when you say とまれ (tomare) in Japanese, you’re commanding them to stop. It’s the same as telling someone to “halt” in English.
I’d imagine you wouldn’t find yourself in a situation to use this expression much, as it’s quite an aggressive word to use in real-life situations.
Instead, it’s an expression you might hear the police shout out at a burglar:
Stop Signs in Japanese
In Japan, you’ll find you frequently see とまれ (tomare) written in text, rather than using it yourself. But where would you see it written? You may be asking.
In the UK and US, we often have red octagonal Stop signs placed at junctions where it may be difficult to see on-coming traffic.
Japan also has red stop signs, however, they are inverted triangle shapes. Along with these stop signs, there will also be text painted on the road. This text will read とまれ (tomare), meaning “stop” or “halt.”
You might be thinking, why don’t stop signs just say 止まって (tomatte) or 止まる (tomaru), maybve even a polite 止まってください (tomatte kudasai)? There are two important reasons as to why Japanese stop signs are written in the imperative form.
- とまれ (tomare) is a short word that is easily understood quickly.
- It tells you that it’s critical to stop immediately.
Imagine if, in the West, all of our signs were written as “please, kindly stop here” instead of simply “stop.” When とまれ (tomare) is used, the importance of stopping is greatly emphasised. It’s also short, and therefore easy for the brain to process, giving you ample time to react.
It’s definitely something to be on the lookout for if you were to drive in Japan!
Stop in Japanese Katakana
ストップ (sutoppu) is a word that has been borrowed from the English language. You read it and the pronunciation is almost the same as English. ストップ (sutoppu) is a casual expression that also has a number of uses. Because the uses mirror that of English, it makes it quite easy to understand.
For instance, you can use it to say “that’s enough” in Japanese. Say someone is being very generous and is pouring you a glass of fine wine (or any other beverage). You realise they’re pouring you a little too much. So you say:
aa, sutoppu! sutoppu!
OK stop! Stop!
And hope that they do stop.
The situations in when you use ストップ (sutoppu) will mostly be those that are considered emergencies. Of course, receiving too much wine is not an emergency per-say, but the fact that you’re in shock at how much you’re getting illustrates the same situation to when you may want to say ストップ (suttoppu) in Japanese.
You can also use it in other situations where you would say “stop” to mean “cancel” in English. As another example, imagine that your friend keeps spending all their money, or throws half-eaten perfectly preservable food away. You might say:
mottainai kara sutoppu shiyou!
It’s a bit of a waste, so let’s stop!
Stop, That’s Enough
- Stop, that’s enough.
Maybe you’re tired of something, have had enough of something, or if you’ve had your fill, and that’s more than enough. You can express all of these feelings with もういい (mou ii) in Japanese. The literal translation of もういい is “already good.” Thus, you can use it when you’re satisfied, had enough and you’re all good.
Imagine you’re playing a game with a friend, and they ask you to go another round. They’re super hyped for it, but you’re a little too tired now. You can say:
tsukareta kara mou ii.
I’m tired, so I’m going to stop.
Of course, もういい (mou ii) by itself is completely fine as a stand-alone phrase here.
Perhaps you’re having an argument, but it’s not going anywhere. You decide to give up on the argument (for today) so you say:
kyou ha mou ii.
That’s enough for today.
Or maybe you’ve just visited Japan for the first time, and someone close to you is excited to show you around. They buy you so much chocolate and want you to taste them and eat them all now. If your stomach is a bottomless pit that’s ready for kilos of chocolate you’d be good… But if that person keeps buying you more, and more, and you feel like it might be a bit much for you, you can say:
mou ii yo! sonna ni taberarenai kara! tetsudatte ne.
That’s enough! I’m not sure if I can eat all of that! Make sure you help me.
Referring back to the entry with ストップ (sutoppu) above and the wine, you can also use もういい (mou ii) to signal someone to stop pouring as its enough for you.
I’m Going to Stop/ I Won’t do it Again
- I won’t do it again
When you’ve made up your mind to stop something, and won’t do it again, you can say もうしない (mou shinai). The literal translation of もうしない (mou shinai) is “already won’t do it.” This makes it a strong phrase to use as you’re quite literally saying, “it already won’t happen again.”
There are many situations where you could say you won’t do it again. It could be as an apology:
gomen, mou shinai.
I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.
Maybe you’re finally going to break that bad habit of eating a whole bag of mini eggs before bed.
chotto yabai. yoshi ! mou shinai.
That was crazy. Okay! I won’t do that again.
Or, perhaps you just want to tell someone (or yourself) that you won’t be doing whatever you did again.
kono kamigata mou shinai.
I won’t be doing that hairstyle again.
There may be plenty of scenarios you may find yourself in when you need to say you’re going to stop something. The great thing about もうしない (mou shinai) is that its uses are very similar to how we would say “I’m not doing that anymore” in English.
When the topic is understood by the speaker and listener, you can use もうしない (mou shinai) by itself. Both parties know that you’re saying もうしない (mou shinai) to the topic of conversation. Convenient!
It Stopped/settled down
- It stopped/settled down
やむ (yamu) is the word for “stop” that you use when referring to the weather. Rather than using とまる (tomaru) for weather in Japanese, やむ (yamu) is used instead. The sentence structure template looks like this: Xがやんだ (X ga yanda). Replace the X with the weather and you’re good to go.
yuki ga yanda.
The snow stopped.
arashi ga yanda.
The storm has stopped.
When written in kanji, 止む (yamu) is the same as 止まる (tomaru), so be careful not to get caught out here on tests and the like!
Just like how the weather settles down when it stops, emotions like crying, or actions like cheering can also be written with やむ (yamu), when it stops.
kanojo ha sukkari nakiyanda.
The girl completely stopped crying.
When something ceases and calms down, you use やむ (yamu) in Japanese.
Stop Doing X
- Stop doing X
X nai de
During times when you want to be specific in regards to what you want someone to stop, you can follow the sentence structure Xないで. This entry is actually a Japanese N4 grammar point, so I’ve provided a link for your reference.
As a simple explanation, to make this grammar point you first take a verb and change it into dictionary form. For example 食べる (taberu), which means to eat. Change it into negative-form and attach で (de), making it 食べないで (tabenaide).
食べないで (tabenaide) can mean
- Stop Eating
- Without eating
For the first meaning, we can tell someone specifically what to stop eating.
mou yoru dayo! mini eggu wo tabenaide!
It’s night-time already! Stop eating mini eggs!
For the second meaning, we can attach a second verb to the expression to say “without eating X do this.” For instance:
tsukarenai you ni chokore-to wo tabenaide yasai no ryou wo fuyashite!
Don’t eat chocolate and increase your vegetable intake for more energy!
I appreciate that this entry is quite confusing especially if you’re a beginner to Japanese. Refer to the reference I’ve linked above, and if you’ve any questions, feel free to send me a message. You can also refer to entry #1 やめて(yamete) in this guide in the meantime as an easier way to ask someone to stop doing something.
Stop, Wait! in Japanese
- Stop, wait!
Sometimes you may need to catch a person as they are leaving. By “catching” I mean stop of course. Say they’ve forgotten something and you want to catch up to them, or if you just want them to wait for you, you can say 待って (matte).
When you shout out 待って (matte) at someone in Japanese, you’re shouting out “stop, wait” in Japanese.
chotto matte! saifu wo wasureteiru!
Wait a moment! You’re forgetting your wallet!
The ちょっと (chotto) is completely optional. ちょっと (chotto) means “small” or “moment” in Japanese, so quite literally – “small wait.”
There may also be times where you find that you’ll have to shout out to a colleague, or boss to wait. During these situations you’ll have to be polite, as saying 待って (matte) by itself would be considered rude, and will most likely get you fired.
To ask someone to please wait in Japanese, you can use (matte kudasai).
Don’t Stop in Japanese
- Don’t Stop
What if you don’t want someone to stop. Perhaps you want to tell them not to stop as a form of encouragement in Japanese, or maybe you love what they’re doing so much, you want them to continue. When you say やめないで (yamenaide) to someone, you tell them exactly “don’t stop” in Japanese.
tanoshii kara yamenai de!
This is fun so don’t stop!
You can also use やめないで (yamenaide) to give advice to someone in regards to not quitting something. If your friend is thinking about quitting their job, and you think they shouldn’t, you can say
shigoto wo yamenai de!
Don’t quit your job!
Other Kinds of Stop
There are other kinds of stops of course in Japanese. Here are a few you might find useful:
- Bus Stop.
This is the word for “bus stop” in Japanese. バス (basu) means “bus,” and 停 (tei) means “stop.” 停 (tei) is kanji used for more complex versions of “stop”.
You could also ask things like:
basu tei ha doko desu ka?
Where is the Bus Stop?
This is Our Stop
When we are on a bus with friends, we often say “this is our stop” to signal them to get off the bus. To say “this is our stop” in Japanese in this context:
- This is our stop.
koko de oriru.
The literal meaning of ここで降りる (koko de oriru) is “we’re getting off here,” but it can be used in situations when you want to say “this is our stop” in Japanese.
- Stopping Already?
mou shinai no?
That brings us to the end of this ultimate guide on how to say “stop” in Japanese! I hope you found it a useful and enjoyable read!
Don’t Want To Stop? まだやめたくない？
If you’re not ready to stop just yet, why not check out more Ultimate How-To Japanese guides.
How to say Let’s Go in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]
How to say Have a Good Day in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]
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