798 - ~てもさしつかえない

JLPT N2: ~てもさしつかえない

Remember our lessons on ~てもいい and ~てもかまわない

We had quite a few of them:

[NDL #679] - JLPT N4: ~てもいい (permission)
- [NDL #680] - JLPT N4: ~てもいい (concession)
- [NDL #686] - JLPT N4: ~てもかまわない (all right to)
- [NDL #687] - JLPT N4: ~てもかまわない (all right with me)
[NDL #789] - JLPT N4: ~なくてもいい (don't have to...)
[NDL #793] - JLPT N4: ~なくてもいい (doesn't have to be...)


Well, ~てもさしつかえない means pretty much the same thing as ~てもいい or ~てもかまわない: "it's OK if," "it's not a problem if," etc.


The verb 差し支える (さしつかえる) means something like "to interfere," "to become impeded," or "to cause an issue."

If you want to get really fancy, a Japanese dictionary writes that it means: 都合の悪いことが起こる。支障を生じる。また、妨げとなる。

In our grammar point, I first thought that this verb was being used in the negative form, さしつかえない, which would mean something like "to not interfere," "to not become impeded," "to not cause an issue," etc.

However, what we're actually doing is taking the noun さしつかえ, which means something like "hindrance" or "impediment," and then putting ない (="there is not") at the end of it, saying "there is no hindrance," "there is no impediment." In more natural English, we can just say that it means "is not a problem" or "is not an issue."

Since さしつかえ is a noun, it is also possible to say さしつかえないです or さしつかえありません. Or you might see a particle thrown in there, as in さしつかえない.


さしつかえない is attaching to a word ending in ~ても, which we generally translate as "even if..."

Thus, "even if... is not an issue" or "even if... is not a problem."


Make sense?

No?

Examples should help:

ここで写真を撮ってもさしつかえないですか。
ここ で しゃしん を とっても さしつかえないですか。
Would it be all right if I took some pictures [a picture] here?
Literally: “here + で + picture + を + even if (I) take + is not a problem + です + か.”

 

👷 Construction 👷

Nothing too crazy going on here. We put ~ても (or ~でも) onto the end of a VERB, an i-adjective, or a na-adjective or NOUN, then put さしつかえない after it:

V てもさしつかえない
i-adjective くてもさしつかえない
na-adjective / NOUN でも + さしつかえない


As mentioned above, you'll sometimes come across さしつかえありません instead of さしつかえない(です), by the way. You'll also hear the more formal さしつかえございません, which can be used by someone like a customer service employee, for example.

We'll see examples of all of these in the lesson.

 

🍳 Usage 🍳

While certainly not as common as ~てもいい, ~てもかまわない~ても大丈夫 (~てもだいじょうぶ), etc., people do say ~てもさしつかえない.

Are they completely interchangeable, then?

...is a difficult question for me to answer. The nuance is a bit different. ~てもさしつかえない sounds more indirect.

I'm tempted to say that ~さしつかえない is "softer," "more polite," "less intrusive," "less direct," "less forward," etc. But to be honest, I can't find the perfect word to describe the difference.

One of my Japanese grammar books says that ~さしつかえない is more 消極的 (しょうきょくてき)... a difficult word to translate. Depending on the situation, we could say that it means "passive" (in the sense of not being forward, direct, or pushy), "negative," "half-hearted," "conservative," etc.

Anyway, moving on...

 

車はちゃんと走りさえすれば、かっこわるくてもさしつかえない
くるま は ちゃんと はしりさえすれば、 かっこわるくても さしつかえない。
As long as it runs properly, it’s not a problem if a car is ugly [looks lame].
Literally: “car + は + properly + as long as it runs (=running + さえ + if [it] does), + even if (it’s) ugly/uncool + is not a problem.”

 

わたしは独身なので、休みが不規則でもさしつかえありません
わたし は どくしん なので、 やすみ が ふきそく でも さしつかえありません。
I’m single, so it’s not a problem if my days off are irregular.
Literally: “I + は + not married + なので (=because), + days off + が + even if (they’re) irregular (=irregular + でも) + is not a problem.”

 

ぼくは毎食インスタントラーメンでもさしつかえない
ぼく は まいしょく インスタントラーメン でも さしつかえない。
I wouldn’t mind eating instant ramen for every meal.
Literally: “I + は + every meal + even if (it’s) instant ramen (=instant ramen + でも) + is not a problem.”

 

解約の手続きは本人でなくてもさしつかえございません
かいやく の てつづき は ほんにん でなくても さしつかえございません。
The cancellation of a contract can be done by a third party.
Literally: “cancellation of a contract + の + procedure / formalities + は + even if it’s not the person herself/himself (=the person herself/himself + でなくても) + is not a problem.”


↑ I had a hard time deciding how to highlight the words in this example. Ultimately we decided to separately highlight the noun 本人 and the negative i-adjective (で)ない.

 

Good news, yo.

By getting through this lesson, we have now covered every single grammar point related to granting or requesting permission to do something.

We still have a couple of N1 lessons on prohibiting actions and whatnot, but we're done with giving permission. Success!
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