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can't help but...

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can't help but...

Postby lomagu » Thu 09.07.2006 6:26 am

I want to say, "I/you can't help but..."

For example, there's some secret documents (test answers/diary etc.) laying on the table and you know you shouldn't look, but can't resist the urge. I found 2 different ways to say it, and I'm familiar with the grammar and everything. I'm just not sure which is more common or if they're slightly different in meaning or if people actually even use them.

1 is 〜を見ずにいられない。
2 is つい/どうしても〜を見てしまう。

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RE: can't help but...

Postby Mike Cash » Thu 09.07.2006 6:48 am

I believe the つい option is often found as ついに
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Thu 09.07.2006 7:32 am

lomagu wrote:
I want to say, "I/you can't help but..."

For example, there's some secret documents (test answers/diary etc.) laying on the table and you know you shouldn't look, but can't resist the urge. I found 2 different ways to say it, and I'm familiar with the grammar and everything. I'm just not sure which is more common or if they're slightly different in meaning or if people actually even use them.

1 is 〜を見ずにいられない。
2 is つい/どうしても〜を見てしまう。


Well I think どうしても is rather different to つい / ついに.

つい tends to be used for things done without thinking about it or planning in advance, often against your better judgement or unintentionally. (Incidentally you can also say ついつい)

I think ついに is a rather different thing and generally used in past tense to mean "finally, at last".
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RE: can't help but...

Postby keatonatron » Thu 09.07.2006 7:42 am

つまり, number 1 is better.

It means, literally, "I can't exist without looking"
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Thu 09.07.2006 7:47 am

keatonatron wrote:
つまり, number 1 is better.

Why the つまり ?

Which is best depends on the circumstances. For example you couldn't use つい if you swipe a key to the office door during work then deliberately do overtime so you can look at the documents when nobody's working.

If you just happen to be passing the desk when he's left for a cup of coffee and you flip the cover over and skim a couple of pages then つい might well be better.
Last edited by paul_b on Thu 09.07.2006 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby lomagu » Fri 09.08.2006 5:40 am

ok, thanks. So I would use つい〜してしまう if I do something spontaneous? What about 〜せずにいられない? Can I use that in any situation?
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RE: can't help but...

Postby keatonatron » Fri 09.08.2006 7:45 am

paul_b wrote:
keatonatron wrote:
つまり, number 1 is better.

Why the つまり ?


Because I couldn't translate that into English. According to your buddy Jim Breen, I wanted to say "in short; in brief; in other words; that is to say; in the long run; after all; ultimately" or some combination thereof.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Fri 09.08.2006 7:51 am

keatonatron wrote:
paul_b wrote:
Why the つまり ?

Because I couldn't translate that into English. According to your buddy Jim Breen, I wanted to say "in short; in brief; in other words; that is to say; in the long run; after all; ultimately" or some combination thereof.

I know what つまり means, I just don't see how what I said (presuming that is what you were つまりing) amounts to what you went on to say.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby keatonatron » Fri 09.08.2006 9:10 am

Your description of つい didn't seem to fit what lomago was looking for, so adding that to my personal opinion that option 1 seems best for this situation, it seemed appropriate to sum things up in a more direct statement.

It seemed to me like you were trying to say "Option 2 is close but means something else, so option 1 would be better," but forgot to add the "so option 1 would be better" :D
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Fri 09.08.2006 9:17 am

keatonatron wrote:
Your description of つい didn't seem to fit what lomago was looking for


there's some secret documents (test answers/diary etc.) laying on the table and you know you shouldn't look, but can't resist the urge.


That sort of "can't resist the urge and do something against your better judgement" is (if acted on impulse) exactly the sort of thing つい is used for.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby coco » Fri 09.08.2006 11:47 am

For example, there's some secret documents (test answers/diary etc.) laying on the table and you know you shouldn't look, but can't resist the urge. I found 2 different ways to say it, and I'm familiar with the grammar and everything. I'm just not sure which is more common or if they're slightly different in meaning or if people actually even use them.

1 is 〜を見ずにいられない。
2 is つい/どうしても〜を見てしまう。

こんばんは。lomaguさん。重要なのは
you know you shouldn't look です。
「つい」は 「うっかり」に近いので、行為に自覚/反省が乏しいときに使うのが一般的です。
・つい、約束を忘れてしまった
・つい、寝坊しちゃった

今回の例では
「人に見られたくないもの/見るべきではないもの」ということが分かっていて
見たいという衝動を自制できなかった」という気持(=悪いことだとは知ってていたけれど、自分を止められなかった)がある場合は、行為を自覚しているので
(その日記を)どうしても読まずにはいられなかった。
になると思います。

(その日記を) つい見てしまった。
を使った場合、「無意識に」「悪気なく」というニュアンスが含まれるので後悔や反省がない・あるいはそれほど深刻ではない時に出てくる言葉か、あるいはそのように受け取られる可柏ォの高い言葉です。

次の例だと二つの違いが分かりやすいかもしれません。
昨日は、つい飲んでしまった。
→お酒を飲むつもりではなかったけど、結果として飲んでしまった。
昨日は、(どうしても)飲まずにいられなかった。
→ お酒を飲むことを自覚した上で飲んだ。

*時制の問題として
1 is 〜を見ずにいられない。 →この文章だけでは実際に「見た/見る」かどうかわからない
2 is つい/どうしても〜を見てしまう。 →「見ている/見た」 なので
両方過去形の阜サで比較しました。
Last edited by coco on Fri 09.08.2006 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Fri 09.08.2006 12:52 pm

Well it wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong but does that mean that the following sentence from the WWWJDIC examples collection is incorrect?

アッシュさんはついタバコを吸わずにいられないみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has just got to have a cigarette.

It's one of about 10 sentences for つい (not including "time like" examples like ついさっき).
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RE: つい〜してしまう/せずにはいられない

Postby coco » Fri 09.08.2006 7:21 pm

アッシュさんはついタバコを吸わずにいられないみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has just got to have a cigarette. 

「ついつい」と「〜せずにはいられない」の複合は、行為によっても許容範囲があり、上の例は「?」 と思いつつも読み流せる程度です。 → 間違いとまでは言えない。
会話では、言葉が厳密に使い分けられていませんから、耳にすることもある阜サです。そしてこの例文は「会話」です。

「〜せずにはいられないみたいだ」と推量で使う場合は、一回でなく、当事者が数回にわたってその行為を繰り返す様を目撃している(あるいは聞き及んでいる場合)に使われます。

1.Cocoは、ついTJPに返事を書かかずに(は)いられないみたいですね。
2.Cocoは、TJPに返事を書かずに(は)いられないみたいですね。
3.山田さんは、つい奥さんを殴らずに(は)いられないみたいですね。
4.山田さんは、奥さんを殴らずに(は)いられないみたいですね。

の場合、
1 だと違和感があります。「つい」というには(私の場合)手間がかかりますから
「いえ、『つい』ではありません。書かずにはいられないのです」となります。
3 だと山田さんの行為に対し、「偶発が重なった」と解釈しているなど、山田さんの行為に対する発言者の批難がほとんど感じられない阜サです。この阜サを聞けば「え? "つい妻を殴る"ってどういうこと? 」と発言者に対しても疑念が湧きます。

このあたりは解釈の範疇なので、他の方のご意見を待ちましょう。

つい、TJPを見てしまう。
TJPを見ずにはいられない
。(TJP中毒程度重症を自覚)
Last edited by coco on Fri 09.08.2006 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: can't help but...

Postby shin1ro » Sun 09.10.2006 1:19 am

I'm with coco san. It sounds strange to me. I think the example doesn't seem to be appropriate as long as it's in the popular dictionary even if it's acceptable...

I don't understand well about the nuance of the "just"...maybe やはり or 結局 be close?

アッシュさんはやはりタバコを吸わずにいられないみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has just got to have a cigarette.

And I think this is close to the original question "I think he can't just help but have a cigarette".

アッシュさんはついタバコを吸ってしまうみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has a cigarette unintentionally/unconsciously.
(he forgets he has to quite smoking, or, he forgets even if it's a non-smoking area.)
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RE: can't help but...

Postby paul_b » Sun 09.10.2006 1:29 am

shin1ro wrote:
I'm with coco san. It sounds strange to me. I think the example doesn't seem to be appropriate as long as it's in the popular dictionary even if it's acceptable...

I don't understand well about the nuance of the "just"...maybe やはり or 結局 be close?

Maybe ただ〜〜だけです。I don't think やはり is very good not sure about 結局 either way.

アッシュさんはやはりタバコを吸わずにいられないみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has just got to have a cigarette.

And I think this is close to the original question "I think he can't just help but have a cigarette".


That English doesn't work. You could have
"I think he just can't help but have a cigarette"

アッシュさんはついタバコを吸ってしまうみたいですね。
I think Mr Ashe has a cigarette unintentionally/unconsciously.
(he forgets he has to quite smoking, or, he forgets even if it's a non-smoking area.)

That's my point about the earlier questions. If he's quit smoking or in a non-smoking he knows he shouldn't smoke in general but he goes ahead and smokes anyway without thinking about it. That's exactly as I was thinking of the
"reads secret papers left on the desk on impulse" scenario.
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