Japanese You Can Do Without?

Learn Japanese easily! Your Japanese is coming along great, so keep up the good work. You’re ready to tell your friends, “I’ve been learning Japanese rapidly online without missing a single great article!” Consider the way that sentence is constructed and how often you say things that are similar. For instance, “I’ve been working hard without taking a break,” and “she’s been talking for hours without listening to a word I said.” This type of sentence is obviously extremely important. Learn how to say it in Japanese and everyone will notice how much your Japanese has improved. That’s why this Beginner Japanese article is a must read. It shows you how to use sentences formed as “do [clause 1] without doing [clause 2].” The possibilities for what you’ll learn in this article are endless. As a bonus, learn vocabulary words such as sakki (“some time ago”), meeru (“e-mail”), and many others that you won’t know how you did without. This Beginner Japanese article helps you improve your Japanese the easy, fun way!

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

satoo – “sugar”
ireru – “to put in, to turn on” (class two verb)
ni-kai – “second floor”
arubamu – “album”
go-han – “cooked rice, meal”
yurusu – “to permit, to allow” (class one verb)
motamota – “inefficient, slow”
uwagi – “coat, jacket”
sushi-ya – “sushi shop, sushi restaurant, sushi chef”
iwai – “celebration, festival”
sakki – “some time ago”
minna de – “with everyone”

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Useful Vocabulary and Phrases


sakki kara
“this whole while, since some time ago”


sakki – “some time ago”
kara – “from, since”




  1. Miu wa sakki kara waratteiru. “She has been laughing since some time ago.”

—————————————————————————–Sushi-ya ni ikuzo.


Zo is a sentence-ending particle that indicates emphasis and is mainly used by male speakers. Please notice that zo is not usually attached to –desu or –masu ending sentences.





  1. Non-past Sushi-ya ni iku. ? Sushi-ya ni ikuzo.
  2. Past Sushi-ya ni itta. ? Sushi-ya ni itta zo.

i Ending Adjective

  1. Non-past Sushi wa takai. ? Sushi wa takai zo.
  2. Past Sushi wa takakatta. ? Sushi wa takakatta zo.

na Ending Adjective

  1. Non-past Sushi-ya wa nigiyaka da. ? Sushi-ya wa nigiyaka da zo.
  2. Past Sushi-ya wa nigiyaka datta. ? Sushi-ya wa nigiyaka datta zo.


  1. Non-past Ken wa sushi-ya da. ? Ken wa sushi-ya da zo.
  2. Past Ken wa sushi-ya datta. ? Ken wa sushi-ya datta zo.

—————————————————————————–Today’s Target Phrase

(Otoo-san wa) nanimo iwanaide arubamu o miteiru.

“The father has been looking at the photo album without saying anything.”


The focus of today’s article is the “[clause 1: Informal negative form of verb X / –nai form of verb X] de [clause 2]” construction, which we can roughly translate as “do [clause 2], without doing [clause 1].”


Sentence Construction


[verb X] nai de [verb Y]

Do [verb Y] without doing [verb X]

*The verb conjugation of informal negative form ? For more details, see Beginner Season 4 Article 23, “Please Don’t Do This!”

Formal Speech

[Subject] wa / [Informal negative form] de / [Verb].

Piitaa wa / nenai de / hatarakimasu.
Piitaa wa / nenai de / hatarakimashita.
Watashi wa / meeru o yomanai de / keshimasu.
Watashi wa / meeru o yomanai de / keshimashita.
Haruya wa / asa-gohan o tabenai de / kaisha ni ikimasu.
Haruya wa / asa-gohan o tabenai de / kaisha ni ikimashita.

*neru – “to sleep”
*hataraku – “to work”
*meeru – “e-mail”
*yomu – “to read”
*kesu – “to delete, to turn off”

Informal Speech

[Subject] wa / [Informal negative form] de / [Verb].

Pt wa / nenai de / hataraku.
Pt wa / nenai de / hataraita.
Watashi wa / mru o yomanai de / kesu.
Watashi wa / mru o yomanai de / keshita.
Haruya wa / asa-gohan o tabenai de / kaisha ni iku.
Haruya wa / asa-gohan o tabenai de / kaisha ni itta.

*Please note that “[verb; informal negative form] de” doesn’t change based on politeness or tense.


Practice 1

Please join the following clauses using nai de.


Example: [ watashi wa] [ terebi o miru] [ hataraku]

Watashi wa terebi o minai de hataraku.

  1. [ watashi wa] [ hataraku ] [asobu] ?_______________________________________________________________
  2. [Jon wa] [ terebi o miru] [ benky shiteimasu] ?_______________________________________________________________ (*benky suru “to study”)
  3. [ Jon wa] [ neru ] [ benky shimasu] ?_______________________________________________________________

To instantly access complete 10-15 minute audio lessons (native Japanese teacher and additional hosts explain the lesson dialogue, vocabulary, phrases, and grammar in detail) and PDF lesson notes (detailed explanation of dialogue, vocabulary, phrases, and grammar), and to interact with other Japanese language learners, visit the link below:

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With just 15 minutes a day, these audio lessons will arm you with the tools to become fluent fast. Find out why students in 120 countries and territories with over 30 million downloads choose JapanesePod101.com by listening today.

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Uzumaki Naruto

Author: Uzumaki Naruto

Expert tips before traveling Japan, including reviews of Japanese food and restaurants to help you make your trip as enjoyable and rewarding as possible.

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