I have been browsing the related questions in this site that deal with ず, ない, ずに and ないで and they are very informative. However, I couldn't find a post dealing with ずに and ないで (adverbially) specifically. That's why I used the categorical word "absolutely" in my question, I want to focus on those.

After researching, it is clear to me that both expressions mean the same, but I still wonder whether there is a difference in nuance, formality or whatever aspect that makes them different in the slightest. Are they always interchangeable no matter the sentence they are used in? To put it the other way around, is there any situation in which 「ないで」(adverbially) can't be replaced by 「ずに」 or vice versa?

For instance,



2 Answers 2


Here's an example case: Vないで(ください) can also be used as a negative request/volitionally, where Vずに won't be able to be used as a drop-in replacement. This is similar to the positive form Vてください。

Edit: I believe there is a difference in nuance between the two adverbial forms, with ず sounding more a bit more classical/mature (although it is used in many different contexts) and being related to せざる and older Japanese forms. I couldn't find a dictionary source, but it's in this chiebukuro question: https://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q1157256921

  • Okay, looks like I fell into my own trap. Editing my question.
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 27, 2019 at 21:26
  • Ah, I see. From the edited question my answer no longer makes sense, so I'll delete shortly or update my answer.
    – jlptnone
    Sep 27, 2019 at 22:18
  • Thank you for helping me to narrow down the scope of my question!
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 27, 2019 at 22:25

I feel it's interchangeable. However, they seem to have differences in situations. I summarized the question question from yahoo知恵袋:「~ずに」と「ず」の違いを教えてください。 「ないで」・「なくて」と比べて...

「質問者」 「~ずに」と「ず」の違いを教えてください。「ないで」・「なくて」と比べて説明していただけると助かります。※例文を書いておきます。

What are the differences between 「~ずに」and「ず」? I'd be glad to be explained in comparison with 「ないで」・「なくて」.

「回答者」 大ざっぱにいえば、 「ずに」=「ないで」、 「ず」=「なくて」です。多くの場合、このペアの中でなら、入れ替え可能です。ただ、使いやすいものと、ちょっと使いにくものが、文の性質によって出てきます。

Roughly speaking,「ずに」=「ないで」,「ず」=「なくて」. In many cases, they are interchangeable with the pair. However, it will appear what is appropriate and what is not appropriate depends on the nature of the sentence.

The followings are example.

Q. 窓を閉めて寝ました。(付帯状況)I slept with window closed. →窓を{閉めないで/閉めなくて/閉めずに/閉めず}寝ました。 I slept without closing the window.

A. 付帯状況・・・「ずに」「ないで」 どちらもOKだが、「ずに」のほうが自然。「ないで」はかなり口語的。

"Circumstances". Either「ずに」or「ないで」 works, however, 「ずに」 is more natural.「ないで」is rather colloquial.

Q. 包丁を使って料理をした。(手段)(Method) I cooked meal with using knives. →包丁を{使わないで/使わなくて/使わずに/使わず}料理をした。 I cooked meal without using knives.

A. 手段・・・「ずに」「ないで」どちらもOK。「ずに」はやや固い感じだが、話し言葉でも用いる。

Either「ずに」or「ないで」will do. 「ずに」is slightly formal, it can be used colloquially.

Q. 太郎は合格して、次郎は合格しなかった。(並列)(Parataxis) Taro passed and Jiro didn't. →太郎は{合格しないで/合格しなくて/合格せずに/合格せず}、次郎は合格した。 Taro didn't pass and Jiro passed.

A. 並列・・というより、対比でしょうね・・・これは、4ついずれも使えますが、 「せずに」は、4つのうちでは最も使いにくいでしょう。正式な場面、書き言葉では「せず」を使うのがもっとも適切で、くだけた話し言葉では、「ないで」が最も多いと思われますが、「なくて」もよく使われます。...中略...「せずに」とすると、いちだんと、その「原因・理由」のニュアンスが強くなりますので、 そういう誤解を受けるおそれがある内容の文であれば、「~ずに」の使用は避けます。

It is "comparison" rather than "parataxis". 「せずに」is the most difficult to use. In formal situations or written language, using 「せず」is the most appropriate. In colloquial spoken language,「ないで」is the most often. (中略) Using 「せずに」emphasizing the nuance of "reason・cause", avoid using「ずに」if the sentence has a risk of attracting the misunderstanding."

しかし、並列でも「その代わりに」というニュアンスがあるなら、反対に「せずに」が生きてきます。 (太郎が来ずに、次郎が来た。 ・・・話者は、太郎が来ることを期待していたが、太郎の代わりに、・・・

However, if there's the nuance of "instead" in a parataxis, you can use rather「せずに」. "Taro didn't come but Jiro came instead. - The speaker expected Taro would come instead of Jiro. -

  • Very informative! Thank you.
    – jarmanso7
    Sep 28, 2019 at 8:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .