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失敗するのを気にしたらまちがいなく失敗してしまう。 =If we think of failure, we will certainly fail.

When I read the example the first time, thinking it's a proverb, I interpreted it like:

If you mind failure, you will fall in/encounter/make the no-mistakes failure.

What prevents 'grammatically' such interpretation?



Edit:

Comment on @shingo.nakanishi answer: Can I say [雨ない年だった.] for 'It was a no-rain/rainless year.'?
If YES, then why can't we think of まちがいない as a 'whole word' that modifies 失敗 in [失敗するのを気にしたら、まちがいない失敗してしまう。] also?

Comment on @naruto answer: Is [雨な年だった.] for 'It was a rainlessly year' correct in Japanese?
If YES, then why can't we consider まちがいなく as an adverbial that modifies 失敗 in [失敗するのを気にしたらまちがいなく失敗してしまう。] also?

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    間違いなく is kind of a set phrase – Aeon Akechi Aug 15 at 22:35
  • @AeonAkechi Literally speaking (regardless of the set-phrase fact), is my interpretation of the sentence correct? – raruna Aug 15 at 22:53
  • What do you achieve by arguing for a literal interpretation if no natives would use it that way? – Leebo Aug 16 at 14:28
  • @Leebo If you have a list of all Japanese set phrases, this may well solve my problem, because I don't know when and where I'd encounter a set phrase all of a sudden. Actually I can't recognise set phrases in sentences. – raruna Aug 16 at 15:09
  • @Leebo I think many new Japanese learners have my problem: reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/comments/4bck3z/list_of_set_phrases – raruna Aug 16 at 15:14
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You translated it as "no mistake", which is a noun, but you should notice なく is the ku-form (≒adverbial form). The very literal translation of 間違いなく is "error-less-ly" or "in an error-free manner", which is why it is usually translated as "certainly", "undoubtedly" or "without doubt" in English.


EDIT: The basic rule you have to keep in mind is actually very simple. The 連体形 (i-form) modifies a noun (thus called "adjectival"), and the 連用形 (ku-form) modifies a verb (thus called "adverbial"). For example 速車 is "a fast car" and this 速い/fast is adjectival because it modifies a noun. 速走る is "to run fast", and this 速く/fast is called adverbial because it modifies a verb (although 速く is a form of an adjective).

If you said 間違いない失敗をする, it would mean something funny and paradoxical like "to make an un-mistaken mistake" or "to make an error-less error". That's not something you want to say. Here 間違いなく must modify 失敗する adverbially.

| improve this answer | |
  • I always thought of く-form as merely used for conjunction purposes and never thought it actually makes adjectives adverbs. But @l'électeur insists that it is still an adjective: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/14842/… – raruna Aug 16 at 13:29
  • Is [雨なく年だった.] for 'It was a rainlessly year' correct in Japanese? If YES, then why can't we consider まちがいなく as an adverbial that modifies 失敗 in [失敗するのを気にしたら、まちがいなく失敗してしまう。] also? – raruna Aug 16 at 13:58
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    @raruna, l'électeur is saying it's not an adverb but 連用形(adverbial/continuative from) of an adjective... – Chocolate Aug 16 at 16:09
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    @raruna, Is [雨なく年だった.] for 'It was a rainlessly year' correct in Japanese? If YES -- No, I'm afraid not. (Is "It was a rainlessly year" correct in English?) – Chocolate Aug 16 at 16:16
  • @reruna There are standalone, non-inflectable, "pure" adverbs such かなり and しばらく, whereas there are also "adverbial forms of adjectives" such as 美しく and 速く. The latter are not in dictionaries because it's a form (ku-form) of an adjective (this is what l'électeur is saying), but these "adverbial words" all work similarly in that it modifies the next verb/adjective. "Rainless year" is 雨のない年, and there is no need to use a ku-form because there is no verb in this phrase in the first place. – naruto Aug 17 at 1:18
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間違いなく means without a doubt

In this case, without is a good translation of ない.

"ない" denies "間違い", not "失敗".

If you deny "失敗" in Japanese, you get "失敗しない".

There is no such expression as "なく失敗" or "ない失敗", so you can't read it wrong.

The Japanese language is quite different from the English word order, so it's easy to misread it if you read it in the English word order.

On the other hand, This makes it very difficult for Japanese to learn English.

In Japanese, the pattern of negative words coming from the front is for kanji such as "非", "不", "否". As you can see from the fact that it is a Kanji, this usage comes from ancient China.

sample:

  • 非常識
  • 不必要
  • 否決

On the other hand, put "ない" behind the word.

  • 非常識(常識がない)
  • 不必要(必要ない)
  • 否決(承認しない)

response to comments:

Can I say [雨ない年だった.] for 'It was a no rain/rainless year.'?

"雨ない年だった" and "雨なく年だった" is very unnatural.

"雨のない年だった", "雨の降らない年だった" or "雨が降らない年だった" is natural.

I can't explain why, by the way, but you can't say "まちがいな失敗してしまう。". Change it to to be correct.

If you must use , you can express it as:

「失敗するのを気にしたら、失敗してしまうよ。間違いなね。」(spoken language)

I don't know why. I'm Japanese, so it comes naturally to me.

By the way, you can use in this case.

「失敗するのを気にしたら、失敗してしまうよ。間違いなね。」(spoken language)

Or something like this:

失敗するのを気にしたら、失敗してしまう。これは間違いなことです。

In this case, you can not say これは間違いなことです. Again, I don't know why.

But if you use "そう" instead of "こと", you can use not .

失敗するのを気にしたら、失敗してしまう。これは間違いなそうです。

I can only give you same example. I can't explain.

By the way, "間違いなそうです", It means that I heard that way.

| improve this answer | |
  • Can I say [雨ない年だった.] for 'It was a no rain/rainless year.'? If YES, then why can't we think of まちがいない as a 'whole word' that modifies 失敗 in [失敗するのを気にしたら、まちがいない失敗してしまう。] also? – raruna Aug 16 at 13:58

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