Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 1: 13/18

なくて (Reasons and Causes)

Not ~ and, Not so, Because not (Examples)

Structure

Verb[なくて]+ Phrase
[い]Adjective[なくて]+ Phrase
[な]Adjective + ではなくて(1) + Phrase
Noun + ではなくて(1) + Phrase

(1) じゃなくて、でなくて

Details

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    Standard

  • 使用域

    一般

About なくて

In Japanese, なくて is a construction that combines ない (in its conjugation form, なく), with the conjunction particle . This results in the same 'and' meaning as the standard form, but with the negative meaning of ない.
なくて is often used when the phrase that comes before it is being highlighted as an example/reason for a specific result. In these situations, the translation is usually 'because not (A), (B)', or 'because I didn't (A), (B)'.
  • あなた()なくて残念(ざんねん)です
    It is unfortunate that you were not able to come. (Not being able to come is the reason that it was unfortunate)
  • 今日(きょう)(さむ)なくて(あたた)かいから今日(きょう)ジャケットを()なくてもいい
    Because it is not cold today, but warm, we don't have to wear our jackets, right? (Not being cold is the reason that it was hot)
  • このスマホ便利(べんり)なくて残念(ざんねん)
    Since this smartphone is not useful, it's a letdown.
  • 虫歯(むしば)なくて安心(あんしん)
    I am relieved because it was not a cavity.
When なくて is used in this way, it is often followed by the speaker's feelings (in the form of an adjective), verbs in the potential form, or something that is generally beyond the control of the speaker. It is due to this fact that the result is 'beyond control' that the translation becomes 'because'.
  • 昨日(きのう)()()なくて(つか)ている
    I am tired because I did not sleep well yesterday.
  • 明日(あした)仕事(しごと)なくて(うれ)
    I am happy because I don't have work tomorrow.
Some examples of words that express things beyond the control of the speaker are (こま)る (to be troubled), (うれ)しい (to be happy), (つか)れている (to feel weary), 心配(しんぱい) (to feel anxiety/worry), 安心(あんしん) (to feel relief).

Examples

  • (みせ)トイレットペーパーなくて大変(たいへん)です

    There is no toilet paper in the stores and it's terrible. (because)

  • 重病(じゅうびょう)じゃなくてホッとした。

    I was relieved because it wasn't a serious illness.

  • 試験(しけん)合格(ごうかく)した()からなくて不安(ふあん)。」

    'I don't know if I passed the exam, and I am anxious.' ('I am anxious because I don't know if I passed the exam')

  • (まご)まだ()ていなくて心配(しんぱい)です。」

    'My grandchild hasn't come yet and I am worried.' ('I am worried because my grandchild hasn't come yet')

  • 彼氏(かれし)子猫(こねこ)()じゃなくて、がっかりした。

    My boyfriend doesn't like kittens and I was let down. (I was let down because my boyfriend doesn't like kittens)

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なくて – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (12 in total)

  • IcyIceBear

    IcyIceBear

    About 6 months ago

    I believe it’s potential form. When making ichidan る verbs into potential the “official” way is られる→寝られる able to sleep, but younger generations are just omitting the ら if the context is clear. So if you assume this is what the sentences are doing, the sentences make sense.
    昨日は良く寝れなくて、疲れている
    I wasn’t able to sleep well yesterday and (because of it) I’m tired

  • domi650

    domi650

    About 6 months ago

    Thank you for the explanation, that’s probably how it is intended

  • MikkaT

    MikkaT

    About 5 months ago

    Hi, it is probably a bit nitpicky, but I think the structure part in the lesson should be like here in the forum.

    In the lesson it is

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