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Japanese Grammar: ずに

This useful grammatical pattern is found around the JLPT N3 level. Even if you are a beginner, take a moment to review a few of these examples. It means, "Without doing X, (I do Y)."

What is ずに?

If you know the ~ないで naide construction (without doing...), this is a more formal and concise way. ない nai is the regular negative ender and the location particle で. ~ずに and ~ないで are basically interchangeable.

Let's break down these two characters.

  • ず zu is a negative ender. It is used in more formal situations than the more common negative ender ない, but these basically mean the same thing:
    • 食べない tabenai - not eat
    • 食べず tabezu - not eat
  • に ni is the particle that shows direction or the target


Construction of ずに

Just replace 「ない」 with 「ずに」.

Exceptions:

  • 「する」 (to do; to cause) becomes 「せずに」
  • 「くる」 (to come) becomes 「こず」


Useful Examples

朝(あさ)ご飯(はん)を食(た)べずに学校(がっこう)に行(い)った。

asagohan o tabezu ni gakkou ni itta.
(I) went to school without eating breakfast.

Vocabulary & Notes


彼(かれ)は何(なに)も言(い)わずに立(た)ち上(あ)がった。

kare wa nanimo iwazu ni tachi agatta.
Without saying a word, he stood up.

Vocabulary & Notes


何(なに)も考(かんが)えずに服(ふく)を買(か)った。

nani mo kangaezu ni fuku o katta.
Without thinking, I bought some clothes.

Vocabulary & Notes


勉強(べんきょう)せずにテストを受(う)けた。

benkyou sezu ni tesuto o uketa.
Without studying, I took the test.

Vocabulary & Notes



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