I am trying to understand this sentence.


My guess is, it can be rewritten as


I figure a translation could be "Dad did not seem to prepare for the trip as he grabbed a bucket and exclaimed: 'Let's go!'". But I am lost as for the meaning of もなく in this sentence. Also, is 持ち a casual or childish version of 持った ?


The first suggested duplicate (Chocolate) clarifies the name of the て form, which is instructive but not what my question was about. In the second one (Chocolate, broccoli forest), も and なく do not appear together; も expresses "also" and 少なく is the く continuative form of 少ない.


1 Answer 1


Your sentence example is not written in the past tense, and even if it were, the tense is shown with the final verb, not earlier in the sentence, so comparing it to 持った would be incorrect. 持って could be substituted, however. 

The stem form (持ち) is neither more childish nor more familiar. It is more literary and/or formal. It is used for continuations of actions. Rather than the ~て form, which suggests an order in a sequence, the stem form simply strings together different actions with less emphasis on the order.

弁当を手に持って、家を出ました。 (He) took the bento in-hand, then left the house. 

is roughly equal to

弁当を手に持ち、家を出ました。(He) took the bento in-hand, and left the house.


Xさんに電話をして、もう一度会う約束をする。≅ Xさんに電話をし、もう一度会う約束をする。


~もない (~もなく) after a noun is roughly equivalent to 'not even~' or 'without (even) ~'. So the translation of this bit would be 'Without the appearance of having done travel preparations...' or 'Without seeming to have done travel preparations...'.

As an example of commonly usage, the expression 間もなく, while often translated as 'soon' or 'shortly', it has a more literal meaning of 'Without delay' (Without an interval of time).

My translation attempt, attempting to follow the same tense as the original, would be as follows:


Without even appearing to do (have done) any travel preparations, Dad takes a bucket in one hand and is shouting 'Let's go.'.

  • Thanks, that was helpful. Could ~もなく be seen as ~も (marking emphasis) + 無く?
    – Stephane C
    Feb 18, 2018 at 16:15
  • Yes, it is not that unusual to write it as も無く, just less common in contemporary Japanese.
    – BJCUAI
    Feb 18, 2018 at 16:56

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