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In the song "Eien no tobira" (永遠の扉) by Yonekura Chihiro (米倉千尋) the chorus starts with this line:

言葉じゃなくて約束もなくて

Since じゃなくて is contraction of ではなくて, I would have expected the second clause to say でもなくて, but it became もなくて with the で omitted instead. There is possibility that the lyric writer really wanted to say "there is no my promise either" instead of "it is not my promise either" but that would make it not parallel to the the first clause "it is not my word" (sorry I can't find a better translation for 言葉 in this context).

Assuming if the lyric line's second clause was supposed to say 「約束でもなくて」, is it okay to omit the で particle and yet still retain the intended meaning through parallel structure with the first clause? In the context of a song or literature, does this kind of trick work?

N.B. It is a really nice song. I recommend trying listening to it if you haven't :)

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Since it's a song, there are probably metrical considerations at play. I don't see why ‘There is no promise’ should more implausible than ‘It is not a promise’. –  Zhen Lin Aug 19 '11 at 18:03
    
@Zhen Because of parallelism using も. Since the first clause is 言葉じゃなくて ("It is not my word") there is no parallelism if the second clause is "There is no my promise either" (約束もなくて). It should be "It is not my promise either" (約束でもなくて). –  Lukman Aug 20 '11 at 2:09
    
@Lukman: I do not know the song, but if it is intended to be parallelism, I think that it is fair to say that the lyric is written poorly. The whole point of parallelism is to use the same structure. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Aug 20 '11 at 19:36

1 Answer 1

I'd have to say the answer is "no". Removing で would totally change the meaning from "to not be" to "to not exist":

  • 約束もなくて: "there is also no 約束"
  • 約束でもなくて: "it is neither a 約束"

It is talking about a subject (which I couldn't determine) which:

  1. are not (human) words (described by 言葉じゃなく), and
  2. have no rules or fate (約束もなく). I'm inclined to think it's more of rules, but usage of 約束 for the meaning of rules is usually related to an organization or society (i.e. community rules, company rules, etc.). If it takes the meaning of fate, then it instead means that the subject has no particular destiny that makes it unchangeable.
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Actually, I don't see how your explanation relates to your answer "no", and I don't understand that explanation at all. I'm thinking of 約束 to mean "promise" not "rule" or "fate", and how do organization or society or destiny have anything to do with contracting でも into も? Can you or the two upvoters please clarify? –  Lukman Aug 25 '11 at 3:03
    
@Lukman Because でも cannot be contracted into も in this context, the only other sensible thing to make out of this sentence is to defer the meaning of 約束 to its other meanings i.e. one that is not "promise", and is related to other predicates. I'll edit the answer to clarify things a bit. –  syockit Aug 25 '11 at 5:40

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