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Last time I wanted to say "Disturbing someone is bad", so I directly wrote:

誰かを邪魔するの悪いよ

But I just came across another way of saying it :

誰かを邪魔しては悪いよ

It bothers me a lot not to know the nuance between those two, because it's not the first time I think about it, so what would the difference between the nominalizer の(は) and しては is?

1 Answer 1

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誰かを邪魔するのは悪い
lit. Disturbing someone is bad

誰かを邪魔しては悪い
lit. If/should it disturb(s) someone, it is bad

の is but a nominalizer, while ては is a conditional expression. You can translate the latter as "disturbing someone is bad" in some situations too, but the two are different in principle. Maybe a better translation is "I'm afraid of disturbing someone" for the latter.

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  • Is a reasonable translation of the bottom sentence also something like "Even as little as disturbing someone is bad" or "So much as disturbing someone is bad"?
    – George
    Mar 1 at 0:01
  • @George Allow me to ask an English question: in what kind of situation do you say "so much as doing..."? Mar 2 at 12:51
  • Saying it in just that way wouldn't be very idiomatic in English :) But we could say things like "Making the slightest noise can really set this guy off!" or "This person is so sensitive that even the slightest disturbance can make him very angry!" I believe this conveys a similar idea as "even as little as disturbing someone is bad...", which seems to me what the Japanese in the second sentence is (literally) saying?
    – George
    Mar 3 at 3:10

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