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I've been doing practice grammar questions and checking my answers from a JLPT practice book, but I just can't figure this one out.

部長のチェックを( )積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ。

1 受けてからだと

2 受けてからなら

3 受けてからでないと

4 受けてからでないなら

Here, I would think the answer is 3 ("We can't assertively continue this conversation without checking with the head of the department", or something along those lines) for that's what I thought would be a correct use of からでないと, but the answer is apparently 2. I just don't understand at all. How do all these forms differentiate?

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  • Please ask one question per question. I've edited out the second JLPT question; could you please repost it separately? Thank you. – user1478 Dec 31 '16 at 16:28
  • Hint: ~~~てもいいよ。 – oals Dec 31 '16 at 20:14
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部長{ぶちょう}のチェックを( )積極的{せっきょくてき}に話{はなし}をすすめてもいいよ。

1 受{う}けてからだと

2 受けてからなら

3 受けてからでないと

4 受けてからでないなら

First, let us take a look at the main clause of the sentence in question. It is 「積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ」, which means "you can/may actively pursue the matter".

Please make a mental note here that the main clause is affirmative both in meaning and grammar/structure.

Now, let us have a look at how you translated the main clause, which is "We can't assertively continue this conversation". You used "can't", but it is okay because you also used "without" in translating the sub-clause -- "without checking with the head of the department". The two negative elements cancel each other perfectly.

Thus, your translation is actually good in and of itself. I, however, suspect your own translation using two negative elements might have confused yourself in the end because in the Japanese sentence, we know that at least the main clause is affirmative.

What we would need to think about here is: What would match in Japanese the "negative + negative" structure in English when the main clause in the Japanese is already affirmative?

The answer would be "affirmative + affirmative" in Japanese, would it not? A "can't ~~ without ~~" structure would surely match a "can ~~ with ~~" structure, yes?

This is why the choices #3 and #4 are "automatically" out because with 「ない」, they are negative both in structure/grammar and meaning. Both 「ないと」 and 「ないなら」 must be followed by a negative phrase (grammar-wise and/or meaning wise), but our main clause 「積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ」 is 100% affirmative.

So, we are now down to two choices -- #1 受けてからだと and #2 受けてからなら.

1「受けてからだと」 should normally be followed by a phrase that is negative either in grammar or meaning, which is why 「受けてからだと話をすすめてもいいよ」 sounds very awkward. It is not something careful speakers would say.

2「受けてからなら」 fits perfectly into the sentence. "If it is after getting the manager's OK, ~~" It finally gives us the "positive + positive" sentence structure that we were looking for.

I admit that careless speakers (native speakers, I mean) might have chosen #1, but the sentence using #1 would be corrected by every teacher or boss.

Choices #3 and #4, unfortunately, are just utterly impossible. They both need to be followed by negative phrases.

With #3, you would be saying "Unless it is after getting the manager's OK, you may actively pursue the matter." Makes practically no sense, right?

With #4, you will have "If it is not after getting the manager's OK, you may actively pursue the matter." Equally nonsensical, yes?

 

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  • Wow, that makes so much sense!! Thank you so much for your thorough answer. :))) – Firefly72 Jan 4 '17 at 2:25
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NG: 1 部長のチェックを(受けてからだと)積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ。

OK, an example: 1 部長のチェックを(受けてからだと)話を変更してはいけないよ。

Once you have had your boss check the proposal (or estimation, like that), you can't change the basics of it.

OR

Once you have had the approval of your boss for the proposal (or estimation, like that), you can't change the basics of it.

OK: 2 部長のチェックを(受けてからなら)積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ。

Once you have had your boss check the proposal, you can assertively continue the deal (without any changes of the basics of the deal).

NG: 3 部長のチェックを(受けてからでないと)積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ。

OK: 部長のチェックを(受けてからでないと)話をすすめてはいけません。

NG: 4 部長のチェックを(受けてからでないなら)積極的に話をすすめてもいいよ。

OK: 部長のチェックを(受けてからでないなら)話をすすめてはいけません。

If you don't have your boss's check (approval), you can't assertively continue this conversation.

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