I've been trying to self-translate the lyrics for Secret Base, and this line somehow confuses me.

突然の 転校で どうしようもなく

What exactly is the use of the で here? And what is its translation?

  • 2
    Please indicate your own research efforts, what you think it might mean, etc. Otherwise it looks like a direct translation request which is off-topic.
    – istrasci
    Sep 17 '20 at 18:55

で here functions like "due to".


Let's try to break the sentence into parts.

突然 can be called a の-adjective (more on that here). There are myriad connections that の can perform (not just the usual possessive one). If you're interested in all the possible meanings of の, I recommend checking the book A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.

転校 is a name, which is being qualified by 突然. All in all, the group 突然の転校 is a name, meaning "sudden change of school".

どうしようもなく comes from どうしようもない, which means "there's nothing that can be done about it". ない is an adjective, and although the く form normally changes the adjective into an adverb, it can also be used to connect sentences (more on this here), similar to the て form.
As a side note, the stem of a verb can also be used to connect sentences.

From here, it's easier to grasp the meaning of で: it's connecting the two sentences. For nouns and な adjectives, you used で for connections such as 賑やかで大きな町 (a lively and big town).

Summarising, the sentence means

There's nothing I can do about the sudden change of schools. (lit. there's a sudden change of schools and there is nothing to be done about it)


The previous example connected two な adjectives, but it can be equally used to connect sentences/ideas (as is the case in the OP sentence). Here's a better example, taken from a college website:


  • 1
    I don't think this answer is correct. This is not the で used to connect な-adjs. Even if 突然の 転校 was a 形容動詞, there isn't another one after it. This is the で used to mean "due to" or "by/with". For example, 「包丁で野菜を切る。」 would mean "To use a knife to cut vegetables. That's why 突然の 転校で どうしようもなく would mean "There was nothing I could do about changing schools."
    – Shurim
    Sep 17 '20 at 18:47
  • @Shurim I gave the example by connecting adjectives, but it can connect sentences/ideas as well. I'll update the answer with a better example, but I'm not saying で is connecting two な adjectives. I stated "it's connecting the two sentences".
    – Jak
    Sep 18 '20 at 12:39

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