Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 8: 23/23


Unthinkable, Inconceivable, Unimaginable, Cannot think


Noun + など(1) + (かんが)えられない
Phrase + ということ(2) + (かんが)えられない

(1) なんて
(2) ことなどなんて


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About 考えられない

(かんが)えられない is the negative potential form of the る - Verb (かんが)える 'to consider'. It will regularly be used after the adverbial particle など (なんか, or なんて), or any expression that nominalizes a phrase, like ということは.
(かんが)えられない is regularly translated as '(A) is unimaginable', or '(A) is unthinkable', which is quite close to the literal meaning.
  • 20年前(ねんまえ)携帯(けいたい)映画(えいが)()たりゲームなど出来(でき)るとは(かんが)えられなかったでしょう
    It was probably unthinkable that you could watch movies and play video games on your phone 20 years ago.
  • (ひと)()()すなんて(わたし)(かんが)えられない
    It is unimaginable that I would raise my hand at a person.
  • あんな(ちい)さい(ひと)相撲(すもう)ろうと(おも)ったということは(かんが)えられない
    It is unthinkable to imagine a person that small decided they wanted to do sumo.
  • (ひと)(ちが)だったことは(かんが)えられないか?
    Is it unthinkable that you misremembered the person?
While (かんが)えられない refers to the inability to think of a certain thing, (かん)えない 'to not consider', or (かんが)えていない 'to not be considering' express something that the speaker has control over. Due to this, only (かんが)えられない may be used when implying something that is unbelievable.
  • ()んだ(あと)ことなどほとんど(かんが)ない
    I don't think about what happens after dying.
  • 結婚(けっこん)した(あと)(こと)など(かんが)えていない
    I haven't thought about what happens after marrying.
  • (つま)離婚(りこん)することなど(かんが)えられない
    It is unimaginable that I would get a divorce with my wife.




    Chat between friends: 'It is unthinkable for a child to solve such a difficult mathematical problem.'


    Blog post: 'Life without electronics is unimaginable for me.' (unthinkable)


    Newspaper: 'Entering a house without removing your shoes is an unthinkable act in Japan, but it is normal in the USA.'


    Chat between friends: 'It is absolutely inconceivable that such a serious person would do something like stealing.' (unthinkable)


    Chat between friends: 'Despite being healthy just yesterday, (he) suddenly died. It's something unimaginable.' (unthinkable)

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考えられない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • MZa


    In this grammar point, although we have the potential form of 考える we do not use the が particle but the は particle. I was wondering whether it is to use the contrastive function of the は particle.

  • Daru


    Yeah! It marks the stop where you say: ‘All of this sentence, THAT is unthinkable.’ Good catch!

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