My son has a t-shirt that says, in Polish, "Nic nie muszę". It translates literally as "Nothing (I do) not must", meaning something like I do not have to do anything.

How would you express this in English (for a t-shirt, not as an official prime minister's statement)?

If British and American English differ here, please state.

  • 1
    Other than the literal translation, what does "Nic nie muszę" actually mean? – Hugo Oct 21 '11 at 7:08
  • There is nothing I must. There is nothing I have to do. – Jarek Oct 21 '11 at 7:11
  • Is the meaning something like "I don't have to do anything?" - I have no responsibilities, you can't make me, etc.? – user13141 Oct 21 '11 at 7:11
  • Yes, that's the impression it gives. – Jarek Oct 21 '11 at 7:12
  • A giant Greek letter phi. – barrycarter Oct 21 '11 at 17:34

If this is for a rebellious teenager's shirt, You can't make me would probably be the most defiant (and still family-friendly) version of "I don't have to do anything."

Alternatively, you could expand the phrase to I don't have to do anything I don't want to do, but it seems a bit unwieldy for a shirt. (Maybe just saying I don't have to would be sufficient to get the idea across, but it might leave some passers-by wondering.)

You could also make it a bit more slang-ish with something like don't gotta do nothing (though note that this isn't technically a grammatically correct phrase, and probably wouldn't be said by an official).

(Note: American English)

  • 2
    I saw a (British) T-shirt recently saying "I'm retired. You can't make me." – TimLymington Oct 21 '11 at 12:53
  • Onomatomaniak: no prime minister said so, or at least I don't know about any. I was just trying to describe the background as a loose environment. You edited my question and it is now misleading. Thanks for your hints, looks like "You can't make me" is the best. But it turned out to be rather intranslatable. I like "I don't have to" too, but it's without the emphisizing "nothing". In Polish just: "Nie muszę". – Jarek Oct 21 '11 at 16:16
  • @Jarek Sorry about that! I edited it once for clarity, but then couldn't figure out how the pm fit in and thought I must have accidentally deleted the part where you said he'd said it and "added" it back in. I've erased the mistake. – user13141 Oct 21 '11 at 17:02

How about just, "No."? enter image description here

  • 1
    This answer is off topic of course, but what an epic tee! – Kirill G Oct 21 '11 at 15:30
  • This statement was also the entire content of my favorite Most Interesting Man in the World (Dos Equis) commercial. – T.E.D. Oct 21 '11 at 18:01
  • 1
    @Cyril. I think I could make the case that the sentiment expressed is very much the same, if somewhat oversimplified. Maybe it's a few lines down in the conversation. – Sam Oct 22 '11 at 2:58

It sounds to me like even in Polish it won't mean much to anybody who doesn't know that the Prime Minister said it, and the context in which he did. Once you move to English-speaking places, you've pretty much exhausted the pool of people who would appreciate the reference.

My suggestion would be to leave it in Polish on your putative T-Shirt. At least that way, readers would know its a refernce to something that happened in Poland. I used to see T-Shirts with Solidarność printed on them all over the place here in the USA back in the 80's.

  • 2
    It is fully understandable in Polish. See how we use it: "You must make your homework", "You must keep this place clean", "You must think about your future": "No, ..." and here goes "nic nie muszę". It could be a talk between teenager and his parent or just between colleagues. What would you say in this place? – Jarek Oct 21 '11 at 16:02
  • To be honest, I'd probably go either with "Make me" or "You're not the boss of me". Putting the first on a t-shirt would be literally asking for trouble though... – T.E.D. Oct 21 '11 at 16:31
  • @T.E.D. you're not the boss of me is quite good. – user13141 Oct 21 '11 at 17:03

You are not the boss of me.


He's the boss, no one can make him do anything.


For a trendy twist, consider the single word: Slacker.

Means, "one who doesn't do anything."

  • 1
    But to me the phrase rather means freedom, not laziness. I thought about placing it as a signature for my forum posts. – Jarek Oct 21 '11 at 16:05

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