500 - ことなく

We're looking at some formal, written language today, which is not used in everyday speech.

Wait, don't get depressed yet. This grammar is actually pretty easy to use:


JLPT N2: ことなく (without)

We use ことなく in written language when we want to describe how an action was done without doing something that is usual or expected.

Like this:


私は高校に入ってから、一日も休むことなく日記を書き続けています。
わたし は こうこう に はいって から、 いちにち も やすむ ことなく にっき を かき つづけています。
Since I started high school, I’ve written in my journal every single day without fail.
Literally: “I + は + high school + に + enter (and) + from, + one day + も + rest / take a holiday + ことなく + journal / diary + を + am continuing to write.”


A more common way to say a sentence like this would be ending a verb with ~ないで or ~ずに, like this:


私は高校に入ってから、一日も休まずに日記を書き続けています。
わたし は こうこう に はいって から、 いちにち も やすまず に にっき を かき つづけています。
Since I started high school, I’ve written in my journal every single day without fail.
Literally: “I + は + high school + に + enter (and) + from, + one day + も + without resting / without taking a day off + journal / diary + を + am continuing to write.”


私は高校に入ってから、一日も休まないで日記を書き続けています。
わたし は こうこう に はいって から、 いちにち も やすまないで にっき を かき つづけています。
Since I started high school, I’ve written in my journal every single day without fail.
Literally: “I + は + high school + に + enter (and) + from, + one day + も + without resting / without taking a day off + journal / diary + を + am continuing to write.”


休むことなく means the same thing: "without resting / without taking a day off." The difference is that we would typically use it in written language, as it is a formal expression.


The best thing about ことなく is that it only attaches to verbs in their dictionary form. Simple!

V ることなく
= without VERB-ing

I wish all of our grammar points were this easy to form.


The real challenge of this lesson will not be ことなく. Rather, the tough part is getting through all of these long sentences...


彼女は何度転んでも諦めることなく、ゴールまで走り抜いた。
かのじょ は なんど ころんでも あきらめる ことなく、 ゴール まで はしりぬいた。
No matter how many times she fell down, she still didn’t give up, and she kept running all the way to the finish line.
Literally: “she + は + how many times + even if (she) fell down + give up + ことなく, + goal / finish line + until + ran through to the end.”


犯人はいかなる証拠も残すことなく、ゴッホの絵を美術館から盗み出した。
はんにん は いかなる しょうこ も のこす ことなく、 ゴッホ の え を びじゅつかん から ぬすみだした。
The thief stole the Van Gogh painting from the museum without leaving behind a single trace of evidence.
Literally: “criminal + は + any kind of + evidence + も + leave behind + ことなく, + (Van) Gogh + の + picture + を + art museum + from + stole (out of).”


千尋さんは誰にも連絡することなく突然日本に帰ってきて、私達を驚かせた。
ちひろ さん は だれ に も れんらく する ことなく とつぜん にほん に かえって きて、 わたしたち を おどろかせた。
Chihiro-san surprised us by suddenly coming back (home) to Japan without any forewarning.
Literally: “Chihiro-san + は + not to anybody + contacting + do + ことなく + suddenly + Japan + に + return (and) + come (and) + we + を + (made) surprised.”


Since ことなく is a formal expression often used in written language, you generally should not use it when describing everyday actions.

For example, using it in this sentence would be a little strange:


△ 小雨だったので、傘をさすことなく学校へ行った。
△ こさめ だった ので、 かさ を さす ことなく がっこう へ いった。
△ It was just drizzling, so I walked to school without opening my umbrella.
Literally: “light rain / drizzle + was + ので, + umbrella + を + open (an umbrella) + ことなく + school + へ + went.”


Instead, you could just say:


〇 小雨だったので、傘をささずに学校へ行った。
〇 こさめ だった ので、 かさ を ささずに がっこう へ いった。
〇 It was just drizzling, so I walked to school without opening my umbrella.
Literally: “light rain / drizzle + was + ので, + umbrella + を + without opening (an umbrella) + school + へ + went.”


That's it! We're finished.

Not just with this lesson--we're now finished with 500 NDLs!

When I first started writing these, I never expected to stick with it for so long.

Motivation, support, and feedback from readers like you has been immensely helpful in showing up every day to teach as much Japanese we possibly can.

どうもありがとうございます!

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