Context, person A has complimented B on their looks. B replied that it's just because they had good teachers (possibly hinting that it was A). A tried to sweep that asside by saying it's all actually down to the B's efforts. B replies:


Currently I have it pegged as:

Even without it (without hard work), there was (also) a beautiful and cunning person around (to help me).

Of course "to help me" bit is not there but it is implied IMO and sentence wouldn't make as much sense in English.

In any case I'm pretty sure してなくても is "even without doing" or "even without working hard at it", but I have also gotten proposals that it might be more "I couldn't have done it without (beautufill and crafty...)".

Sooo, what is the actual meaning of してなくても here?

EDIT: Additional context, preceding text:

A: 可愛くなった

B: 髪のケアにファッション笑い方に立ち振舞い先生が優秀だったもの。

A: 本人の努力ありきだよ~

  • 4
    What came before this text?
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 12:08
  • Added the preceding couple lines. Commented Mar 18, 2018 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


A: 可愛{かわい}くなった。

B: 髪{かみ}のケアにファッション、笑{わら}い方{かた}に立{た}ち振舞{ふるま}い。先生{せんせい}が優秀{ゆうしゅう}だったもの。

A: 本人{ほんにん}の努力{どりょく}ありきだよ~

B: してなくてもキレイ~なズッコい人{ひと}もいるけどね・・

「してなくても」 said by B at the end clearly means 「努力してなくても」 ("even without making an effort"). 「努力」 was mentioned by A just a moment ago.

This is why @snailplane asked his/her question in the comments. Japanese is an extremely contexual language; therefore, we keep shouting "Context, context, context!"

No one could have answered your question regarding what 「してなくても」 would mean until you provided the first three lines. Providing enough context is the key to receiving more reliable answers and even doing so more quickly.

A: You've become cuter.

B: My hair care and fashion. The way I laugh and my manners. I had an excellent tutor.

A: It's all based on your own effort.

B: There is an unfair girl who, without making any effort, is prettty, though!

「ずっこい」 is a slangy version of 「ずるい」, which means "unfair" here.

  • Oh, I know context was necessary, I just thought the amount first provided was enough. I thought Even without making an effort refereed to a condition on the speaker. But this, this makes SOOOO much more sense. ESPECIALLY with the lines that follow, in which B goes into detail how the "unfair girl" is being unfair. So you hit that right on the money. Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 14:52

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