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 '19 at 8:02


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:


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


「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 '19 at 21:14
  • 1
    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. Oct 16 '19 at 0:02

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