592 - ~ずにはおかない (can't help but)

JLPT N1: ~ずにはおかない (can't help but)

In written Japanese, we can end a verb with ~ずにはおかない in order to say "can't help but VERB."

Here's an example:


19世紀の娼婦を演じる彼女の演技は、観客を魅了せにはおかない
じゅうきゅう せいき の しょうふ を えんじる かのじょ の えんぎ は、 かんきゃく を みりょう せずにはおかない。
Viewers cannot help but be captivated by her performance as a 19th century prostitute.
Literally: “nineteen + century + の + prostitute / harlot + を + perform + she + の + performance + は, + audience / spectator + を + charm / fascination + cannot help but do.”

We have: 魅了する (みりょうする // to charm; to fascinate; to mesmerize).

Then we change it to: 魅了せずにはおかない, which technically means something like "(her performance) cannot help but fascinate/charm (viewers)."

That sounded strange in English, though, so I went with "Viewers cannot help but be captivated by her performance."


Let's look at how these sentences are formed:


V ないずにはおかない
V ないではおかない

Exception:
しない → にはおかない


You'll notice that sometimes the VERB coming before ~ずにはおかない is in the causative form (=~させる):

孤児院で育った彼が書いたその本は、読む人を感動させにはおかない
こじいん で そだった かれ が かいた その ほん は、 よむ ひと を かんどう させずにはおかない。
One cannot help but be moved when reading his book about growing up in an orphanage.
Literally: “orphanage + で + grew up + he + が + wrote + that + book + は, + read + person + を + moving (emotionally) + can’t help but make do.”
Note: This is a somewhat liberal translation of the Japanese. Depending on the context, it could be inaccurate. For example, it is also possible that the author, who grew up in an orphanage, wrote a fiction book in which the main character also grows up in an orphanage.

そこで難病と闘う人々の姿は、私達に当たり前の毎日のありがたみを気付かせにはおかなかった
そこ で なんびょう と たたかう ひとびと の すがた は、 わたしたち に あたりまえ の まいにち の ありがたみ を きづかせずにはおかなかった。
Seeing the people there fighting with serious [rare] diseases, one couldn't help but feel grateful for the day-to-day life that we take for granted.
Literally: “there + で + intractable [rare / serious] disease + と + fight + people + の + figure / appearance + は, + we + に + to be expected / natural / obvious + の + every day + の + value / worth / blessing + を + couldn’t help but notice.”
Note: Though dictionaries will say that 難病 (なんびょう) means "intractable (=incurable) disease," the term 難病 conjures up ideas of "rare diseases" in the minds of most native Japanese speakers.


When we use ないで in place of ずに, it has the same meaning:


二人の女性を刺した通り魔の無罪判決は、論争を引き起こさないではおかないだろう
ふたり の じょせい を さした とおりま の むざい はんけつ は、 ろんそう を ひきおこさないではおかない だろう。
That he [she] was found not guilty of randomly stabbing the two women will inevitably cause (a great deal of) controversy.
Literally: “two people + の + female + を + stabbed + random attacker + の + ‘not guilty’ verdict + は, + controversy / dispute + を + could not help but cause + だろう.”


That's all for this one.

A short lesson, to be sure, but the example sentences were quite long, and they were filled with the type of difficult vocabulary you might come across in an N1 test (though I seriously doubt they'll use a word like 娼婦 [しょうふ // harlot; prostitute], since most language tests tend to shun topics like that).

Anyway, I'd read through it until you can at least read each example sentence without looking at the word-by-word breakdown or translations. When time allows, you should do this for all lessons, really.

If you still get thrown off by grammar constructions that use ~ず (which means ~ない), then you may want to look back at these former lessons:

- [NDL #430] - JLPT N2: に限らず
- [NDL #452] - JLPT N1: にとどまらず
- [NDL #549] - JLPT N2: にかかわらず
- [NDL #550] - JLPT N1: いかんにかかわらず
- [NDL #556] - JLPT N2: をとわず
- [NDL #557] - JLPT N1: いかんによらず

As you can see, ~ず shows up in a lot of N1 and N2 grammar.

In fact, our next N1 lesson will be on a different usage of ~ずにはおかない!

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