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Whenever I see のでは, I always think of のではないか. That's why I was left confused when I came across this sentence : 部品がないのでは大切なミシンだからといっても直そうにも直せないではありませんか.

I understood the meaning of the sentence, but the のでは still strikes me as odd. Does it derive from ので? Or perhaps it's the same with ようでは..

  • 1
    Try to think of the の here as a replacement for 場合/時/状態/状況 etc. as in 「部品がない場合では~」. – DXV Oct 15 at 8:02
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「部品{ぶひん}がないのでは大切{たいせつ}なミシンだからといっても直{なお}そうにも直せないではありませんか。」

This sentence is 100% grammatical and natural-sounding including the 「のでは」 part.

First of all, 「では」 in this context means 「であるとすれば」 or more colloquially, 「だと」. It expresses the premise of judgement -- "if it is the case".

The 「の」, of course, is the famous nominalizer. It is necessary because only nouns can immediately precede 「では」 for this usage. The 「部品がない」 part must be nominalized.

Thus, the logic here is:

Premise: 「部品がない」

If the above is the case. then:

Judgement: 「大切なミシンだからといっても直そうにも直せない」

I am not a translating machine, contrary to popular belief, but the sentence means:

"If it is the case that the parts are not available, you/we will not be able to repair the sewing machine even if it meant a lot to you, right?"

My own example sentences:

「この強風{きょうふう}ではピクニックは中止{ちゅうし}だよね。」

No need for a 「の」 because 「強風」 is already a noun.

「風{かぜ}がここまで強{つよ}いのではピクニックは中止だよね。」

「の」 needed because 「強い」 is an adjective.

  • Is there a different nuance if we make it 部品がないのなら…? – Kaz Oct 15 at 21:14
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    I would say yes. While 「部品がないのなら」 is a plain conditional with no particular emphasis on the condition itself, 「部品がないのでは」 places a greater amount of emphasis on the premise. – l'électeur Oct 16 at 0:02

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