721 - ~ないで

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🔥 Malevolent Conjugation Quiz 🔥

Here are some verbs and verb phrases:

食べる(たべる // to eat

鍵を閉める(かぎをしめる // to lock [e.g. a door]

化粧をする(けしょうをする // to put on makeup

アラームをかける(to set an alarm

使う(つかう // to use

電車に乗る(でんしゃにのる // to ride a train

Try putting them into the plain present negative tense (V ない).

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Answers:

食べない(たべない // not eat

鍵を閉めない(かぎをしめない // not lock [e.g. a door]

化粧をしない(けしょうをしない // not put on makeup

アラームをかけない(not set an alarm

使わない(つかわない // not use

電車に乗らない(でんしゃにのらない // not ride a train

Last of all, try adding で to the end, which will give us the meaning of "without VERB-ing."

(While ~ないで can be used to say "without VERB-ing," it can also be used to say "[please] don't verb." We're looking at the former in this lesson.)

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Answers:

食べないで(たべないで // without eating

鍵を閉めないで(かぎをしめないで // without locking [e.g. a door]

化粧をしないで(けしょうをしないで // without putting on makeup

アラームをかけないで(without setting an alarm

使わないで(つかわないで // without using

電車に乗らないで(でんしゃにのらないで // without riding a train

That's the gist of our entire lesson.


JLPT N4: ~ないで (without ~)

You may recall that we had a lesson about using ~なくて to state the reason for something: [NDL #519] - JLPT N4: ~なくて (since).

An example of that:


アラームが鳴らなくて、寝坊してしまった。
アラーム が ならなくて、 ねぼう して しまった。
My alarm didn’t go off, so I overslept.
Literally: “alarm + が + don't ring (and), + oversleeping + ended up doing.”

Consider how that is different from this sentence:


アラームをかけないで寝たら、寝坊した。
アラーム を かけないで ねたら、 ねぼう した。
I went to sleep without setting my alarm, and I overslept.
Literally: “alarm + を + don't set (and) + when (I) slept, + oversleeping + did.”

Here, we are using ~ないで to show that an action (going to sleep) was done without doing another action (setting an alarm).

When explaining the difference between ~なくて and ~ないで in that lesson mentioned above, we also saw this sentence:


朝何も食べないで出勤した。
あさ なにも たべないで しゅっきん した。
I went to work without eating anything this morning.
Literally: “morning + nothing + don't eat (and) + going to work + did.”

An action (going to work) was done without doing another action (eating anything).



V ないで
without VERB-ing



Sometimes ~ないで is talking about a sequence of actions (the first of which is not done):


昨日、玄関の鍵を閉めないで出かけてしまいました。
きのう、 げんかん の かぎ を しめないで でかけて しまいました。
Yesterday, I accidentally went out without locking my front door.
Literally: “yesterday, + entryway + の + key / lock + を + don’t shut (and) + (accidentally) went out.”


Other times, ~ないで is talking about the means by which something was done:


手を使わないで、ズボンを履いてください。
て を つかわないで、 ズボン を はいて ください。
Please put on your pants without using your hands.
Literally: “hand + を + don’t use (and), + pants + を + put on (lower-body clothing) (and) + please.”

↑ Not sure what situation our poor listener is in, but I don't envy him.

I don't think we really need to make any differentiation between these two uses. Just learning it as "without VERB-ing" always seemed to serve me just fine. But yeah, there are some slightly varying nuances to the meaning, I suppose.


Another example:


妻は今日、化粧をしないで仕事に行きました。
つま は きょう、 けしょう を しないで しごと に いきました。
Today my wife went to work without doing her makeup.
Literally: “wife + は + today, + makeup + を + don't do (and) + work / job + に + went.”




Finally, note that our translation will not always use the word "without."

Sometimes it will be more natural to say "instead of," for example:


今日は電車に乗らないで、歩いて学校に行きました。
きょう は でんしゃ に のらないで、 あるいて がっこう に いきました。
Today I walked to school instead of taking the train.
Literally: “today + は + train + に + don’t ride (and), + walk (and) + school + に + went.”


You may recall that we've already studied a grammar point utilizing ~ないで:[NDL #708] - JLPT N4: ~ないでおく.

In that lesson, we saw sentences like this:


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.”

If you're only going to review one lesson today, though, I'd look at the one mentioned earlier: [NDL #519] - JLPT N4: ~なくて (since).

It can be easy to mix up ~なくて and ~ないで.

There is also another grammatical construction that is almost identical to ~ないで, which is ~ずに. We'll be covering that in the very next lesson!




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