920 - ~てからでないと

JLPT N3: ~てからでないと (not until after; unless it's after)

Before reading this lesson, you may want to review our lessons on ~てから

[NDL #434] - JLPT N5: ~てから
[NDL #497] - JLPT N4: ~てから (since)
[NDL #919] - JLPT N3: ~てからは

The pattern ~てからでないと expresses that "Action A" must be done before "Action B" can be done.

For example, in the following sentence...

"Action A" = "see it in person"
"Action B" = "decide whether or not I'll buy it:"

買うかどうかは、実物をからでないと、決められません。
かう かどうか は、 じつぶつ を みてからでないと、 きめられません。
I can't decide whether or not I'll buy it until I've seen it in person.
Literally: “buy + whether or not (=かどうか) + は, + real thing + を + see (and) + からでないと, + can’t decide.”


"Action A" ~てからでないと "Action B"
→ "see it in person" ~てからでないと "(can't) decide whether or not I'll buy it"
→ → I can't decide whether or not I'll buy it until I've seen it in person.

Another way to phrase it would be that ~てからでないと is used to express that "Action A" will be difficult or impossible to do unless "Action B" is done beforehand. For this reason, we might translate it as "not until after," "unless it's after," or "only after."

This also explains why the clause containing "Action B" will express that something is impossible, difficult, etc. For example, in the sentence above, the speaker is saying that he can't decide whether or not he'll buy the item in question. That is, the verb 決める (きめる // to decide) is in the negative potential form, 決められません (きめられません // cannot decide).

 

In this construction, からでないと is connecting to a verb in the て-form:

鶏肉を食べる時は、よく火を通しからでないと、食中毒が心配だ。
とりにく を たべる とき は、 よく ひ を とおしてからでないと、 しょくちゅうどく が しんぱい だ。
Before eating chicken, you have to cook it all the way through, or you might get food poisoning.
Literally: “chicken + を + eat + time + は, + well + fire + を + put through (and) + からでないと, + food poisoning + が + worry + だ.”


It is also possible to put a word expressing time (that is not a verb in て-form) directly before からでないと, as in this sentence:

来月からでないと、入学の申し込みはできません。
らいげつ からでないと、 にゅうがく の もうしこみ は できません。
You can’t apply to the school until after next month.
Literally: “next month + からでないと, + enrollment (in a school) + の + application + は + can’t do.”

 

Last, note that we can also say ~てからでなければ instead of ~てからでないと, which has the same meaning:

怪我が完全に治っからでなければ、運動をしてはいけません。
けが が かんぜん に なおってからでなければ、 うんどう を してはいけません。
You must not exercise until your injury has completely healed.
Literally: “injury + が + complete + に + heal (and) + からでなければ, + exercise + を + must not do.”

 

You're done!

That was nice and short, yeah? ^_^