I have a sentence from page 39-108 of Lake and Ura's Learn to Read in Japanese.


The book gives a somewhat inscrutable:

Eating only not being, it would be better to do a little exercise, for sure.

Google Translate gives the translation as:

You do not have to eat, you had better exercise a little

The second half of the sentence (運動したほうがいいですよ) is pretty straightforward; as I understand it from here, the first half of the sentence describes habitual eating. I don't know how it interacts with いないで.

1 Answer 1


~て + ばかりいる A verb in ~て form or a noun followed by ばかり means to do only that action or thing, or continuously do it, or to always (verb). This phrase is often used to disapprove of something.

勉強してばかりいる To do nothing but study.
走ってばかりいる To do nothing but run.

ないで means please do not (verb).

To combine both meanings:

勉強してばかりいる + ないで => 食べてばかりいないで

Which means, "please don't always just eat" or "please don't eat constantly."

For the record, ばかり could also be written ばっかり which means the same thing (but with more emphasis), and if it follows a verb in past tense, then it means that you have just finished doing that action.

食べたばかり・食べたばっかり = I just ate. (I just got done eating)

  • 2
    I thought the 〜しないで as a polite request not to do something only applied in the end of a sentence, implying 〜しないでください and the ないで here would be more like "without doing (something)"
    – siikamiika
    Apr 10, 2017 at 18:33
  • 2
    食べてばかりする doesn't make sense.
    – user4092
    Apr 10, 2017 at 22:21
  • 1
    Yeah I guess you're right. I was just using it as an example but it should be replaced with いる it seems.
    – rgolden
    Apr 10, 2017 at 22:24
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    No, that would be wordy/awkward.
    – user4032
    Apr 11, 2017 at 14:37
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    解答の4行目のSo, 食べてばかりしないで means... は、「食べてばかりないで」の、単なるタイポではなかったのでしょうか・・・? 勉強して(い)る +ばかり→勉強ばかりして(い)る or 勉強してばかりいる 、 食べている +ばかり→食べてばかりいる (食べてばかりる is ungrammatical)、 食べていないで + ばかり→食べてばかりいないで (食べてばかりないで is ungrammatical)
    – Chocolate
    Apr 11, 2017 at 23:44

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