Seifu no shien nashi niwa eigyō ga tsuzukerarenai deshō. (Unless they get government support, they won’t be able to keep their business going.)

Situation 1: Section chief Mr. Okubo and division head Ms. Yamani are talking.



Ōkubo: Shingata korona uirusu no sei de chūshō-kigyō no keiei ga yokunai yō desu ne.

Yamani: Ē, kore dewa, seifu no shien nashi niwa eigyō ga tsuzukerarenai deshō.

Okubo: It seems the novel coronavirus has made it difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to operate.

Yamani: Yes, at this rate, unless they get government support, these businesses won’t be able to keep going.


Xなしに translates as without “X,” but is mainly used in written or formal Japanese. In the pattern XなしにY, “X” is a noun and “Y” is a clause, and conveys the idea that without “X,” “Y” occurs. Additionally, “X” is often something that naturally should have existed in the first place, and the occurrence of “Y” without “X” results in something impracticable or troublesome:

ノックなしに部屋(へや)に入(はい)ってはいけない。(You must not enter this room without knocking.)

The pattern can also be used with “で,” as in Xなしで, which simply conveys the state of something without “X”:

辞書(じしょ)なしで日本語(にほんご)の新聞(しんぶん)が読(よ)めるようになった。 (I can now read Japanese newspapers without a dictionary.)

You can also emphasize the lack of “X” by using the structure 何(なん)のXもなしにY, which translates more along the lines of “Even without any ‘X,’ Y”:

男(おとこ)たちは何の許可(きょか)もなしに事務所(じむしょ)のコンピューターを勝手(かって)に使(つか)っていた。(The men were using the office computers without any permission.)


Situation 2: Mrs. Okubo’s son, Mitsuo, has overslept and is rushing to get to school.



Mitsuo: Nebō shita kara, kyō wa asagohan wa iranai yo.

Haha: Sonna koto iwanaide, sukoshi demo tabenasai. Chōshoku nuki de gakkō ni iku to, jugyō ga yoku rikai dekinai-n datte.

Mitsuo: I overslept, so I don’t need breakfast today.

Mother: Don’t say that, have just a little something to eat. They say that if you go to school without breakfast, you won’t understand the lessons.

X抜きで has a similar meaning to Xなしに, but emphasizes the idea that “X” is being excluded where it is normally present:

パスタは、肉(にく)抜きでお願(ねが)いします。 (No meat on the pasta please.)

抜き is also used in the structure Xは抜きにしてY, which translates more as “without doing”:

仕事(しごと)の話(はなし)は抜きにして飲(の)みましょう。 (Let’s have a drink but not talk about work.)


Bonus Dialogue: Mr. and Mrs. Okubo are talking about their son Mitsuo’s future after graduating from high school.

妻 (つま):光男(みつお)の進路(しんろ)、どうしたらいいと思(おも)う?

夫 (おっと):そりゃ、まず光男の考(かんが)えを聞(き)かなきゃ。子(こ)どもの進路を、本人(ほんにん)抜きで決(き)めることはできないよ。








Wife: What do you think we should do about Mitsuo’s future?

Husband: Well, we’ll have to hear his thoughts first. We can’t decide our child’s future without him.

Wife: Yes, of course, but it looks like he still doesn’t know what he wants to do. He says that he wants to become a YouTuber, or a professional gamer.

Husband: He’s helpless. We’ll have to talk with him seriously next time.

Wife: He likes doing things on his computer, it seems.

Husband: Nowadays, we can’t do anything without a computer, so that’s alright. But it’s not enough.

Wife: He also likes to watch comedy shows.

Husband: If he likes comedy so much, why not just let him go to clown school?

Wife: Hey, leave the jokes and think about this seriously.

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