Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 10: 1/22


Won't get away without, Won't get off without, Have to, Have no choice but to, Can’t not

It is advisable to use ざるをえない or ないわけにはいかない or similar grammar points instead as this expression is not very common.


Verb[ない] + ずには + すまない
Verb[ない] + では + すまない



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About ずにはすまない

ずにはすまない is used to indicate that one ‘has no choice but to (A)’, or ‘won’t get away without doing (A)’. It is a formal expression that is a combination of the negative classical auxiliary verb, ず, the case-marking particle に, the adverbial particle は, and the standard negated form of the う-Verb ()む ‘to come to pass’, or ‘to finish’. Due to this, the more literal translation is ‘it will not come to pass that (A) is not done’, with the more natural English interpretations conveying the same feeling.
As we can assume by this expression beginning with ず, it will exclusively follow verbs.
  • あんなに迷惑(めいわく)をかけてしまったんだから、(あやま)ずにはすまないだろう。
    I caused so much trouble, so I won’t get away without apologizing.
  • 取引先(とりひきさき)のお(えら)いさんに()みに(さそ)われたから、()ずにはすまない
    A high-ranking business partner invited me out for a drink, so I have no choice but to go.
  • 会社(かいしゃ)先輩(せんぱい)からの電話(でんわ)()ずにはすまない
    I have no choice but to answer phone calls from my senpai from work.
Just like other instances where ず is used with する, ぜず will be the correct conjugation pattern.
  • やばい、田中君(たなかくん)のゲーム()(こわ)してしまった。これは、弁償(べんしょう)ずにはすまないな。
    Oh shoot, I broke Tanaka-kun’s gaming console. I won't get away without paying him back.
The standard (ない) negative form of a verb may also be followed by ではすまない. This has the same meaning as ずにはすまない.
  • (ちち)大切(たいせつ)にしていた釣竿(つりざお)()ってしまった。(あやま)らないではすまない。
    I accidentally broke a fishing rod my father took great care of. I won’t get away without apologizing.
  • 税金(ぜいきん)(はら)わないではすまない。
    You can’t get away without paying taxes.
This construction will tend to sound unnatural in cases where the speaker only considers (A) to be something that is necessary based on their personal feelings. (A) is usually something that would be the expected course of action according to anyone.




    It's an important meeting, so I won't get away without making it on time.


    He has scrapped an important tool without consultation. He won't get off without being fired.


    I broke the window of the car without permission, even though I was trying to save a puppy. I won't get away unpunished.


    I have no choice but to talk to my boss about it, since it is a serious problem.


    Since you are an adult, you won't get by without knowing it.

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