708 - ~ないでおく

JLPT N4: ~ないでおく (refrain from ~; not ~)

~ないでおく...

Haven't we already studied that?

Not quite. We did, however, study ~ておく, which we use when describing an action that is done in advance or as preparation for something: [NDL #617] - JLPT N4: ~ておく.

For example, we saw this sentence:


オーブンはあらかじめ180度に温めおいてください。
オーブン は あらかじめ ひゃくはちじゅう ど に あたためておいて ください。
Please heat the oven to 180 degrees beforehand.
Literally: “oven + は + beforehand + 180 degrees + に + warm (and) + do in advance (and) + please.”
Note: In Japan, they use Celsius. Also, I have a bad habit of saying オーベン (← not a word) instead of オーブン (← correct). Pronouncing English loan words will be the death of me.


It's not relevant to this lesson, but I included the note anyway. ^_^

Non-native speakers like me have a bad habit of forgetting to include おく in sentences like that one above. Instead we end up saying:


オーブンはあらかじめ180度に温めてください。
オーブン は あらかじめ ひゃくはちじゅう ど に あたためて ください。
Please heat the oven to 180 degrees beforehand.
Literally: “oven + は + beforehand + 180 degrees + に + warm (and) + please.”


I mean, the English translation doesn't even change. Give me a break!

But that's not how a Japanese person would usually say it, so we probably shouldn't either. Instead, we just have to remember to snap おく onto verbs that describe actions done in advance or as some form of preparation.

That's the same thing we're doing in this lesson, too. The only difference is that we're talking about not doing things for a specific purpose. A more natural way to phrase that might be to say:

📚 We end verbs with ~ないでおく when describing actions that are deliberately avoided . Thus, some goal or purpose can be accomplished.

↑ That just about sums it up! Let's see this in action...


Your poor puppy has to get surgery! The vet tells you:


手術の日は、えさを与えないおいてください。
しゅじゅつ の ひ は、 えさ を あたえないでおいて ください。
Please don’t feed her anything on the day of the surgery.
Literally: “surgery + の + day + は, + treat / food + を + don’t give (and) + do in advance (and) + please.”


We refrain from giving the dog any food as preparation for the surgery.
→ giving-the-dog-food + ないでおく


👷 Construction 👷

This isn't too complicated:

V ないでおく
refrain from VERB-ing; not VERB


I was tempted to write that grammar formula like this:

V ないおく


But I thought that might be misleading, since technically we're using the negative て-form (=~ないで) in these sentences.


This example describes something that has never worked for me:


明日飛行機で寝られるように、今日はないでおこう
あした ひこうき で ねられる ように、 きょう は ねないでおこう。
I’m not gonna sleep tonight so that I’ll be able to sleep on the plane tomorrow.
Literally: “tomorrow + airplane + で + can sleep + ように (so that), + today + は + don’t sleep (and) + let’s do in advance.”


(The ように in this sentence will be covered in a future N4 lesson.)

I simply cannot sleep on planes. Maybe 15 minutes here or there, but that's about my max. As a result, some of those 30+ hour trips from Southeast Asia to the U.S. have just about killed me.

Anyway, note that this おこう is not "let's do in advance." Rather, it's "I think I'll do in advance." That is, the speaker is talking to himself. See these lessons to review this:
- [NDL #54] - I think I'll... go to sleep.
- [NDL #55] - Yo, hey. I think I'll... tell you my plans...

That reminds me! I put "do in advance" for the literal translations of おく, but that's a bit of an over-translation. Maybe I should have just left it as おく in the literal breakdowns without trying to force it into English. *_*


You have your very own maid. I don't know how you got one. Maybe you're the star of a Japanese anime.

In any case, you have a maid, and it's awesome. She cooks, does laundry―all that stuff your mom said you'd have to do someday.

She says:


A:
洗濯物を洗いましょうか。
せんたくもの を あらいましょう か。
Would you like me to do the laundry?
Literally: “laundry (items) / dirty clothes + を + shall I wash (=let’s wash + か)?”


You say:


B:
いえ、今からシャワーを浴びるのでまだ洗わないおいてください。
いえ、 いま から シャワー を あびる ので まだ あらわないでおいて ください。
No, I’m about to take a shower, so please don’t wash anything yet.
Literally: “no, + now + from + shower + を + shower / bathe + because (=ので) + not yet + don’t wash (and) + do in advance (and) + please.”


You want her to refrain from washing the clothes. That way, you'll also be able to wash the clothes you're wearing now, and your bath towel, too!

Note that you're not talking about completely refraining from washing the clothes. You're just talking about refraining from this action temporarily―holding off on washing the clothes.


Despite your vicious loathing of making phone calls, you somehow find yourself tasked with making a reservation at a restaurant for a bunch of people.

Where's your maid when you need her?!

Well, you want to make sure that you'll only need to call the restaurant one time, so you say:


正確な人数が分かるまで、レストランの予約はないでおきます
せいかくな にんずう が わかる まで、 レストラン の よやく は しないでおきます。
I’ll wait until I know the exact number of people before I make a reservation at the restaurant.
Literally: “accurate / exact + number of people + が + know / understand + until, + restaurant + の + reservation + は + don’t do (and) + do in advance.”


You refrain from making the reservation until you know the exact number of people going in order to avoid having to adjust your reservation later.


In spoken language, ~ないでおく will commonly become ~ないどく.

でお → ど

Here's an example:


お姉ちゃんは口が軽いから、まだ言わないどこう
おねえちゃん は くち が かるい から、 まだ いわないどこう。
My sister can’t keep a secret, so I think I’ll hold off from telling her just yet.
Literally: “older sister + は + can’t keep a secret / has a loose tongue (=mouth + が + light) + because, + not yet + won’t say (and) + let’s do in advance (~ないでおこう → ~ないどこう).”


We saw something similar in the ~ておく lesson, as well.


The end.

Congrats on making it through yet another N4 lesson.

Hang in there. You're well on your way to jetting right through that JLPT test of yours.




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