722 - ~ずに

JLPT N4: ~ずに (without [doing s.t.])

We just saw ~ないで, yeah?

~ずに means pretty much the same thing:

V ずにV ないで
without VERB-ing; instead of VERB-ing

So these two sentences are more or less the same:


昨夜は歯を磨かずに寝てしまった。
さくや は は を みがかずに ねて しまった。
I (accidentally) fell asleep without brushing my teeth last night.
Literally: “last night + は + teeth + を + not brush (and) + に + (accidentally) fell asleep.”

昨夜は歯を磨かないで寝てしまった。
さくや は は を みがかないで ねて しまった。
I (accidentally) fell asleep without brushing my teeth last night.
Literally: “last night + は + teeth + を + don't brush (and) + (accidentally) fell asleep.”


~ず is an old form of ~ない, though you still hear it quite a bit today.

To conjugate a verb with ~ず, first try putting it into ~ない form (the negative present plain tense):

磨く(みがく // to brush [e.g. teeth]; to polish
↓ ↓ ↓
磨かない(みがかない // not brush [e.g. teeth]; not polish

Then drop off the ない and add

磨かない(みがかない // not brush [e.g. teeth]; not polish
↓ ↓ ↓
磨か-(みがか-
↓ ↓ ↓
磨かず(みがかず // not brush [e.g. teeth]; not polish


Like we saw with ~ないで, we can use ~ずに when describing that one action is done without doing another action:


アーミッシュの人々は、電気をほとんど使わずに生活しています。
アーミッシュ の ひとびと は、 でんき を ほとんど つかわずに せいかつ しています。
Amish people live without using hardly any electricity.
Literally: “Amish + の + people + は, + electricity + を + hardly / almost (not at all) + not use (and) + に + living + are doing.”


...and we can also use both ~ないで and ~ずに when describing that one action is done in place of another action:


野村さんは水を飲まずに、ジュースばかり飲んでいます。
のむら さん は みず を のまずに、 ジュース ばかり のんでいます。
Nomura-san doesn’t drink any water, only juice.
Literally: “Nomura-san + は + water + を + not drink (and) + に, + juice + only + is drinking.”


する has an irregular conjugation for ~ず:

する( // to do
↓ ↓
せず( // not do


An example:

参加する(さんかする // to participate
↓ ↓ ↓
参加せずさんかせず // not participate
↓ ↓ ↓
参加せずさんかせずに // without participating; instead of participating

昨日は飲み会に参加せずに、まっすぐ家に帰りました。
きのう は のみかい に さんか せずに、 まっすぐ いえ に かえりました。
Instead of going to the (drinking) party last night, I went straight home.
Literally: “yesterday + は + drinking party / get-together + に + participation + not do (and) + に, + straight (direction) + house + に + went home.”
Note: Since a 飲み会 doesn't necessarily qualify as a "party" in my mind, I'm tempted to translate this as "Instead of going out with everyone last night..." Ah, sometimes English and Japanese just don't play nicely.


You'll find that「V ず」is used in quite a few grammatical constructions, particularly for JLPT N2 and N1.

You also hear it in daily life quite a bit. So it's worth taking the time to learn it.




Noticed any typos we've missed or other issues?
Report them here at this link.

Have questions about something in this lesson? Something not quite clicking yet? Join our discord community and discuss any questions / comments with us and fellow students.
You can join by heading to this link.