Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 1: 9/23


To have no choice but, No other way than, Have to


Verb + より + ほか + (は(1))+ ない

(1) に、には


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About よりほかない

Used in a similar way to しかない, より(ほか)ない is a structure that emphasizes that only (A) is possible, when attached to the end of verbs. This grammar pattern is a combination of the case marking particleより 'than', or 'from', the noun (ほか) 'other', and the い-Adjective, ない. From this it can be translated directly as 'there is nothing other than (A)'. However, the emphasis is usually on the impossibility of doing anything other than (A), rather than the existence of nothing else.
Common interpretations include 'to have no choice but to (A)', 'there is no other way than (A)', or simply 'have to (A)'.
  • 人身(じんしん)事故(じこ)のせいで電車(でんしゃ)()まったので、会社(かいしゃ)までタクシーで()よりほかはなかった
    Because the train stopped due to an accident, I had no choice but to take a taxi to work.
  • (くつ)(あな)()いたので、(あたら)しいのを()よりほかない
    I have no choice but to buy a new pair of shoes because there's a hole in mine.
Occasionally, the particles に, は, or a combination of both as には may come between (ほか) and ない. While this does not change the meaning, it does further emphasize the point that there is no choice but (A).
  • 被害者(ひがいしゃ)無事(ぶじ)であることを(いの)よりほかにない
    There is nothing we can do other than pray that the victims are safe.
  • (だれ)もお(ばあ)さんを(たす)けようとしなかったので、(わたし)(たす)けるよりほかはなかった
    No one was trying to help the old lady, so I had no choice but to help her.
  • 仕事(しごと)をクビになったので(あたら)しい仕事(しごと)(さが)よりほかにはない
    I got fired from my job, so I have no choice but to look for a new one.




    Department Head: 'Because the project was a waste of time and money, there is no choice but to give up on financing it.'


    Because I couldn't get my car out, I had no choice but to ride my bike.


    Because Tanaka-san suddenly kissed me, there was no choice but to be surprised.


    Since it was in order to defend myself against the thief, I had no choice but to shoot him.


    If you become drenched to this extent, there is no choice but to buy clothes and change.

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