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In an essay I'm reading called 料理, the author says the following (note: the full sentence is very long, so I've omitted a few of the clauses while keeping enough to get the general point across):

料理中の男に、このように特殊な事情はまったく無関係、かたわらで私が青白い顔をしていようが、とにかく、時間をかける。

The explanation in the back of the book says:

Kakuta could have used で after 無関係, but that would have weakened the statement. The clause sounds strong precisely because で is not there.

I have a few questions about this.

  • In what way does omitting で make it stronger? I.e. can anyone explain the nuance exactly?

  • Would omitting で always be understood to strengthen the statement? Or does it depend on the situation and context?

  • Does this apply to any other conjunctions or particles as well? Or is this something unique to で?

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First, let us get the part of speech straight as it is of utmost importance here.

The 「で」 that is "omitted" in the phrase 「[無関係]{むかんけい}で」 is an auxiliary verb. Specifically, it is the [連用形]{れんようけい} of the affirmation auxiliary verb 「だ」. Because it is the 連用形, the sentence can continue following it while maintaining its natural flow. In meaning, 「で」=「であり」or「であって」.

It could not be the particle 「で」 not only because that would not fit the context but also because particle 「で」 basically never gets omitted.

It is not the conjunction 「で」, either, even though that is a much better (and more logical) guess than thinking of it being a particle. Conjunction 「で」 is too informal to fit in this particular context. More importantly, the 連用形「で」, while being an auxiliary verb, already functions as something of a conjunction by linking one clause to another.

"In what way does omitting で make it stronger?"

It just looks and sounds stronger to end a clause with a noun (when possible) without a short word or two following it that does not affect the meaning of the clause. It makes the clause that much more concise with no "frills". Please read the thread below if you have not. This is a classic technique in Japanese.

what exactly is "体言止{たいげんど}め"?

"Would omitting で always be understood to strengthen the statement? Or does it depend on the situation and context?"

It would depend on the context and situation. Strengthening your statement is not always welcomed. Doing so with shorter phrases and sentences could make you sound curt when you do not want to. Overuse of [体言止]{たいげんど}め is never recommended.

"Does this apply to any other conjunctions or particles as well?"

The 「で」 in question was neither a conjunction nor particle as I stated. It is mostly the verb 「する」 in all of its conjugated forms and affirmative auxiliary verbs that can be omitted for the "strenghthening" effects.

Conjunctions are rarely, if ever, omitted for any reasons in the first place. When particles are omitted, that is only for informal/colloquial shortening. It is not done in formal writing.

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(Either で is conjunctive particle or adverval form of copula) It's because once で is omitted, it's no longer a continuative clause and equivalent to 無関係だ.

無関係で…時間をかける。 → 無関係(だ)。…時間をかける。

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If you include 「で」 , then the「で」will naturally be accented in speech as it is the end of the clause and the 「で」is linking the two clauses together (not really as a conjunction, but as the 連用形 for 「である」 or 「だ」).

Including 「で」 makes it sound as though the first clause is trying to explain the second. Leaving the 「で」 out makes the clause ending in 「無関係」 stand out like a separate utterance. Now the emotional force can more naturally rest on the word 「無関係」 rather than on the conjoining 「で」.

Here's another example:

Conjoined utterance with 「で」: (The two thoughts are directly linked, so the opinion expressed in the first clause sounds limited by its application to the case in the second clause.)

幸福とお金がまったく無関係で、就職できても幸せになるはずだと考えてはならない。

And without 「で」: (The first thought is now much more broad in its application and import as the speaker is essentially saying, "There is absolutely no connection between happiness and money." [full stop])

幸福とお金はまったく無関係、就職できても幸せになるはずだと考えてはならない。

You could imagine the second sentence having a period in place of the comma (though that's not grammatically cool) to show the pause and emphasis present in speech.

In the case of 「で」 being the 連用形 of 「である」・「だ」, removing it should always make the word before it sound stronger. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head where it wouldn't.

I believe this would be unique to 「で」, but only because it is the 連用形 of 「である」・「だ」. So removing 「であり」 (in speech) would often make the last word in an utterance stronger, if for no other reason than that the speaker would basically be ending his thought there, rather than ending it on a "verb" as normally would be expected.

Just to recap the idea I was trying to get across in the example up there you could translate them differently this way:

幸福とお金がまったく無関係で、就職できても幸せになるはずだと考えてはならない。
There's no connection whatsoever between money and happiness. So, even though you get a regular job you shouldn't think that you'll necessarily be happy.

(In this case I would think that the emphasis was being placed on the application rather than the principle stated in the first clause.)

幸福とお金はまったく無関係、就職できても幸せになるはずだと考えてはならない。
There is absolutely no connection whatsoever between money and happiness. Even though you get a regular job you shouldn't think that you'll necessarily be happy.

(In this case I would think that the emphasis was being placed on the principle stated in the first clause, the application sounding more like a secondary point supporting it)

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