556 - をとわず

When you're a beginner of a foreign language, you have to learn how to say things.

Once you reach an advanced level, though, you need to learn different ways to say the same things.

Accordingly, you should feel somewhat comforted by the fact that we're going to look at how to say "regardless of" for the umpteenth time:


JLPT N2: を問わず (regardless of; irrespective of)

First, you may wish to review these lessons, which look at very similar grammatical constructions:

- [NDL #549] - JLPT N2: にかかわらず
- [NDL #550] - JLPT N1: いかんにかかわらず
- [NDL #555] - JLPT N3: にかかわりなく

を問わず (をとわず) means pretty much the same thing as にかかわらず and にかかわりなく (both of which we saw in those lessons linked to above): "regardless of."

Like all of those other constructions, を問わず also comes right after a NOUN:

NOUNを問わず
regardless of NOUN

An example:

このマラソン大会は、経験の有無を問わず、誰でも参加できます。
この マラソンたいかい は、 けいけん の うむ をとわず、 だれ でも さんか できます。
Anyone can participate in this marathon, regardless of their experience.
Literally: “this + marathon + tournament / mass meeting + は, + experience + の + presence or absence + regardless of, + anyone + participation + can do.”

The verb 問う (とう) means "to inquire" or "to ask," so を問わず (をとわず) basically means "without asking." I guess I could see how that becomes "regardless of" ...perhaps.

This is pretty stiff-sounding Japanese, so I doubt you'll hear it being used in spoken language all that often. That said, grammar books don't seem to classify this as "written language," so theoretically you should be able to use it in (formal) spoken language.

Realistically, though, it's one of those phrases you just need to understand but will rarely, if ever, need to use. Like I mentioned in the last lesson, we think に関係なく is the most common when speaking.



もやしは季節を問わず、1年中栽培・収穫できます。
もやし は きせつ をとわず、 いちねんじゅう さいばい・しゅうかく できます。
Bean sprouts can be grown and harvested all year long, regardless of the season.
Literally: “bean sprouts + は + season + regardless of, + all year long + cultivation + harvesting + can do.”


After living in Japan for a while, you'll start to realize that もやし can be used in such a wide variety of downright delicious recipes. Personally, I'm in love with nice, simple stir-fried bean sprouts, or もやし炒め (もやしいため).

I'm getting hungry.


Another example for your perusal:


商品の大小や合計金額問わず、なんでも無料で配達します。
しょうひん の だいしょう や ごうけい きんがく はとわず、 なんでも むりょう で はいたつ します。
Shipping is free for all items, regardless of size, price, and so on. // We offer free shipping for all items, regardless of their size, price, and so on.
Literally: “product + の + sizes (large and small) + や + total sum + amount of money + regardless of, + anything + free + で + delivery + do.”


Oh, and you've probably noticed this by now, but these "regardless of" grammatical constructions often pair with "nouns" that express two contradictory meanings. For example, our first example had the phrase 経験の有無 (けいけんのうむ), "whether or not (one) has experience," "the presence or absence of experience."

Or we have the following positive-negative verb combo, similar to constructions we've seen in the other lessons linked to earlier:


本人が望む望まないを問わず、インフルエンザの時は学校や仕事に行くべきではありません。
ほんにん が のぞむ のぞまない をとわず、 インフルエンザ の とき は がっこう や しごと に いく べきではありません。
One should not go to places like school or work when sick with the flu, whether one wishes to or not.
Literally: “the person himself [herself] + が + whether one wishes for or not (=wishes for + doesn’t wish for) + regardless of, + influenza + の + time + は + school + や + work + に + go + should not.”


That's it.

Even if you're getting used to these "regardless of" constructions, be sure to also focus on memorizing words you are not familiar with. That's the real challenge to advanced comprehension of Japanese, after all.

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