なくて Negative て-form - Examples - Grammar Discussion

not and
not so
because not

Structure

  • Verb[ ] + くて + B
  • い-Adj[く ] + くて + B
  • な-Adj + で(は) なくて /じゃ なくて + B
  • Noun + で(は) なくて /じゃ なくて + B

[When なくて is used with verbs it is mostly used to describes reason or cause]
[While ないで can also be used to express reason/cause, many native speakers only consider なくて to be natural]

[An adjective’s なくて form is also used to link qualities and states]
[The following clause (B) is often limited to expressing the speaker’s feelings, verbs in potential form or, in general, something beyond the control of the speaker]

[なくて is often used with 困る、嬉しい、大変、びっくり、疲れている、心配、休む、安心、◯が痛い、気持ちがいい etc.]

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Very minor gripe but I feel like this should be higher priority than the last grammar point in N4 considering it’s used in previous lessons, unless I’m missing something.

「ごめんね。一緒に映画館に行けなくて。」
“I was not able to go to the cinema (together) with you and I am sorry.”

What tells me to translate this in past tense and not in present tense (“I am not able to go to the cinema (together) with you and I am sorry.”)? How would you have to change the Japanese sentence to be translated in present tense?

So I just have a general question

Mainly about this^
If I were trying to speak a bit of japanese and I was using ないで where it’s more correct to use なくて how much would that impact the sentence? As in would they still mainly understand what I’m trying to say but just think “This clearly isn’t a native speaker”?
Or would it change the meaning of a sentence in a meaningful way.

I think you’d be understood using either ないで・なくて, depending on the context. Whether confusing the two would critically impact the sentence would probably depend on exactly what you’re saying. You would certainly run the risk of identified as a non-native speaker, but believe me, Japanese people will know you’re not a native speaker for many more reasons than simply confusing ないで・なくて. :wink:

The main case where ないで・なくて are interchangeable is when talking about cause and effect. In that case, there are four different constructs that can be used (ないで・なくて・ないから・ないので), but から・ので are more direct, whereas ないで・なくて are more indirect. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar goes into more detail about this on pp. 272, 280. Here’s a key excerpt:

Otherwise, ないで and なくて have their respective meanings as Bunpro helpfully articulates them.

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Most certainly I simply didn’t read properly, but …. This one seems weird to me:

。。。けどお金が 。。。買えないんです

The correct answer (i.e. the one that the system wants) is なくて, but in the grammar Info it says that nouns come with じゃなくて / ではなくて.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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A noun would use ではなくて etc. when it’s the noun itself that’s being negated. But this sentence isn’t saying “it’s not money”, it’s saying “I have no money” or “there is no money”. It’s the verb ある that’s being negated, not the noun お金.

The spot following the noun is also already taken by the particle が.

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