Posted on

How-to say “to have no choice but to do VERB” (Pre-ない-Form VERB + ざるを得ない)

How-to say “to have no choice but to do VERB” (Pre-ない-Form VERB + ざるを得ない)

The grammar pattern of Pre-ない-Form VERB + ざるを得ない expresses the idea of “to have no choice but to do VERB.” Other translations of this include “cannot help but to VERB”, “to be obligated to VERB,” “to be compelled to do VERB.” In meaning, it is similar to other grammar patterns such as なければならない and しかない, both of which also employ a negative form of the VERB word used. The context of this grammar pattern’s construction can also serve as a useful way to memorize its meaning. The ざる-Form of a VERB word can be thought of as a more literary and archaic version of the standard Negative-ない-Form of a VERB word, which of course means “to not VERB.” Additionally, the word 得ない is used as a suffix of sorts to VERB words to express the meaning of “can’t VERB” or “not possible to do VERB.” Thus, in combining these two meanings, our grammar pattern has the meaning of “can’t not do VERB,” which more naturally translates to something along the lines of “no choice but to do VERB.”

*The verb する, “to do,” exhibits a special conjugation when used with this grammar pattern in which it becomes せ instead of し (せざるを得ない and not しざるを得ない).

Pre-ない-Form VERB (the Negative-ない-Form with the ない dropped) + ざるを得ない = “to have no choice but to do VERB”

Similar Grammar Patterns:


Kinyoubi made ni tsukitakereba, hikouki de ikazaru o enai.
(“If you want to arrive by Friday, you have no choice but to go by plane.”)

Mina wa atarashii joushi o mitomezaru o enakatta.
(“We all had no choice but to accept the new boss.”)

Takusan no yosougai no koto ga okotta kara, ryokou o enki sezaru o enai.
(“Since a lot of unexpected things happned, we have no choice but to postpone our trip.”)

Kenkou no tame ni takusan no yasai o tabehajimezaru o enai.
(“For the sake of my health, I have no choice but to eat a lot of vegetables.”)

Byouki ga yoku natte inakatta kara, byouin ni ikazaru o enakatta.
(“My illness was not getting any better, so I had no choice but to go to the hospital.”)