てすみません - Grammar Discussion

I’m sorry for

Structure

  • Verb[] + すみません

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Missing full stop in the first 2 example sentences:

:v:

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Thanks! :grinning:

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What about the negative form? Is it always ~なくてすみません or can I use ~ないですみません as well?

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Both are natural, but なくて is used more often this way.

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Thanks! Now it’s clear. In which cases would ないで be preferred over なくて? And is there any grammar where only ないで can be used but not なくて?

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First of all.
ないで can be used only with verbs. なくて, on the other hand, can be used with nouns, adjectives and verbs.
But if なくて is used with a verb (not in fixed expression) it has to express reason or cause. (ないで doesn’t have this requirement, also when なくて is used with nouns and adjectives it simply means “not, and/ is not…, but”)

So this explains why there is no だけではないで but only だけではなくて and why it is perfectly fine to use ではいられない with Nouns, but ないではいられない works only with verbs.

In other words, if you simply want to say: “not and” for verbs your default choice is ないで and for adjectives and nouns なくて。If you want to state a reason/cause then なくて is choice (though it is weaker than ないから・ないので!).

Next, ないで is the only one that is used with auxiliaries like ください、ほしい、おく。

それをしないでください、
Plesae, do not do that.

それを言わないでほしい。
I do not want you to say that.

パスタはあるから買わないでおいた。
Because I have pasta, I didn’t buy it (in preparation for something).

Since Verb[て] + すみません, verb is a reason/cause they are both OK, though なくて is preffered.

There are some fixed expressions with なくて like:

なくてもいい - don’t have to

忙いそがしいなら、行いか なくてもいい です。
It is also OK with ないで:
忙しいなら、行か ないでもいい です。

Or なくては(いけない/ならない)
which cannot be rephrased for ないで.

There is also another expression, ずに, which is formal version of ないで (and like ないで cannot be used with nouns and adjectives).

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@Anthropos888

Perfect! Thanks for the great explanation.

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No problem, I hope it helps :bowing_man:

I’m a little confused as for why this is taught as a seperate grammar point (not by bunpro, but in general). Isnt it just “I did/didn’t and I’m sorry”? Is there any difference to the て form used to join sentences?

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Hey :grin:

Usually, it is like that because it is taught before て form, since apologizing is one of the first phrases students want to know.

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The english sentence is past tense, while the japanese answer is present tense.
In Genki II 2nd Edition Page 106 it says that, when apologizing for something in the past, you need to add a ‘deshita’ after the sumimasen, so it would look like:
わたしてすみませんでした