Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 1: 3/23


Can't help doing, Have no choice but

する→ざるを得ない, くる→ざるを得ない


Verb[ない+ ざる得ない


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About ざるを得ない

ざる is the 連体形(れんたいけい) (attributive form) of the old-fashioned auxiliary verb ざり. ざり carries the same meaning as the modern ない, in negating what comes before it.
When joined with a combination of the る-Verb () 'to gain', or 'to acquire', and the auxiliary verb ない, it becomes a double-negative structure meaning that one 'cannot help doing (A)', or 'there is no choice but to (A)'. More literally, it means that one 'can't not (A)'.
For the most part, this structure will conjugate with other verbs in exactly the same way as ない.
  • (やま)頂上(ちょうじょう)まで(のぼ)りたかったが、天候(てんこう)(わる)くなって()たので(あきら)ざるを()ない
    I wanted to hike to the peak of the mountain, but the weather was getting worse so we had no choice but to give up.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)指示(しじ)されたので(したが)ざるを()ない。
    Because my senpai told me to do it, I had no choice but to obey.
Caution - As ざり is an old-fashioned structure, it conjugates a little bit differently with する than the regular ない.
  • フランスの大学(だいがく)()くため、フランス()勉強(べんきょう)しざるを()ない。
    In order to go to a college in France, I have no choice but to study French. (Unnatural Japanese)
  • フランスの大学(だいがく)()くため、フランス()勉強(べんきょう)ざるを()ない
    In order to go to a college in France, I have no choice but to study French. (Natural Japanese)
Notice here that instead of しない changing to しざる, せざる will be used instead.




    Mr. Tanaka was so busy he had no choice but to turn down an invitation to play golf.


    The microscope I have been using until now broke, so I have no choice but to buy a new one.


    We have no choice but to lower exhaust in the factory.


    The discussion is not coming to an end. We have no choice but to extend the amount of time allotted to use this meeting room.


    The team isn't from my home town, but my nephew joined the team so I can't help but cheer for them.

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ざるを得ない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (8 in total)

  • Greenlama


    My answer to 思掛かけない出会であいに、感動_______________
    is せざるをえない。 But it is marked as incorrect. Why? The example of the same sentence seems to add せ to 感動 but the exercise does not. I have logged out and logged back in (and even entered my answer w/out せ)but Bunpro will not mark my answer as correct.
    Thank you very much in advance for any suggestions from anyone.

  • FredKore


    You’re using the right verb but the wrong tense.

  • Greenlama


    Oh, duh!! Can’t believe I overlooked that. Thanks so much for replying.

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