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Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Pot-Bouille, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Pot-Bouille Senior Member


    I'm curious about the following sentence structure: Negative verb in "ず" form + に + どうする
    I can't find it in any of my grammar books. Any hints?

    彼女が幸せにならずにどうする... (heard in a drama)
    大人こそが国家を守らずにどうするのだ。(from a blog)
    燃えずにどうする! (movie title)

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  2. Tonky Senior Member

    There are ~ないでどうする, and ~なくてどうする, too.
    どうする is from "どうするものだ", often seen in Kabuki play, I think, and it means どうする?どうもできない!
    Here is a quote from 日本国語大辞典
    彼女が幸せにならずにどうする is the same as 彼女は幸せになるべきだ but a stronger conclusion or decision.
    So, something along the line of "she should be happy - what if not? - oh she definitely will be/must be."
    (I think there should be better English wording, but I cannot think of one at the moment. If you can come up with a good translation for this, please teach me!)
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  3. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    I used to think どうして was in relation with どうする.

    It sometimes means 仕方がない

    It sometimes means 意味がない、理由がない、価値がない

  4. Pot-Bouille Senior Member

    I think I get the nuance now, especially in the following case:
    If adults don't protect the state, then who will? they must protect it or else nobody will.
    (sorry for the poor English wording, I'll ask native speakers for better translations and let you know later:))

    But I'm still a bit puzzled by the other examples, isn't there a sense of something being "irresistible"?
    燃えずにどうする! Who could resist getting all worked up (when watching this movie)?! You're gonna get all excited!

    食べずにどうする! Who could resist eating this ?! You're gonna eat it!
  5. Tonky Senior Member


    They sound more natural than what I wrote, but strictly speaking, it is not really "who does? nobody", but closer to "what to do? no other options". The first sentence is fine with who because こそが is stressing who, but not the others.
    You did get the nuance, I'm sure. But it's literally, "What would you do if you don't do this?"
    As for "resistible", we have another.
    これが食べずにいられるものか! Under this situation, can I resist not eating (it)? No!
    最後の一滴まで飲まずにおられるものか! Can I resist not drinking it till the last drop? No!
    ※ Both いられる・おられる can be used.

    These examples may help more? There are ~てどうする instead of ~ないでどうする
  6. Pot-Bouille Senior Member

    Thank you, Tonky-san.
    I think I get it know.

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