In my textbook Multimedia Exercises for Basic Japanese Grammar I came across this example sentence and I was completely puzzled:


All I have studied and read so far emphasized ため cannot be used with negative sentences, actually I had read an example that used 風邪をひかないように。。。

Why is ため used in this example? I googled to see if there were similar uses with negative verbs and got one Japanese page with this: 忙しい人たちの風邪をひかないためのTIPSをリサーチ.

Is it being used because of the の particle after ため? I'm very confused.

  • 1
    Can you cite a source for the claim that "ため cannot be used with negative sentences"? 風邪を引かないため seems very commonly used.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 0:02
  • Hi of course, thank you so much for replying, I appreciate you took the time to go through my question :) Here are the resources where I got that ために is not meant to be used with negatives youtube.com/watch?v=An6sKwhUH48 Minute 9:55 youtube.com/watch?v=JtUVV0Y8KfQ At around 28 seconds imabi.net/inorderto.htm Imabi had some explanation around 〜ないために which I find yesterday but found confusing to be honest.
    – Namifia
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 2:09
  • I also consulted the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and どんなときどう使う日本語表現文型辞典 but they did not cover the differences and only mentioned that the construction for ために are verbs in dictionary form or nouns when ために had this 目的 use. I am sure I read it elsewhere too that ために is not to be used with negatives but I cannot find the page. However you were very helpful.
    – Namifia
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


As you suggest, the following sentence does sound awkward.


The reason is that かぜをひかない is not something you actively do, and therefore, not suitable as a purpose.

The sentence below with ように, which denotes a desired state rather than a purpose, sounds much more natural.


If you still need to use ため, you should insert する as below so that the adverbial clause describes what you actively do to achieve a desired state, rather than the desired state itself.


However, this distinction becomes less strict in a noun-modifying clause making かぜをひかないためのサプリメント much more acceptable, although some might find it a bit informal and still prefer かぜをひかないようにするためのサプリメント.


ため here is nothing special — just used in its most common meaning, "for the purpose of;" "the sake of."

Your sentence can be translated as follows:

This is the supplement for the sake of not catching a cold.

Since ため is a noun, it's followed with の. Again, nothing special. (The supplement for this sake; this sake's supplement)

風邪をひかないように, on the other hand, is an adverbial phrase. It roughly means "In a way of not catching a cold," and does not quite fit the context here.

If you're asking about ため with negative verbs, then it's simple — just use negative verbs as you would use positive verbs.


Grammatically though, negative verbs of this sort (ending in ない) are actually い-adjectives, and because ため is a noun, then 引かないため and いい人 and 強い風 are all structurally equivalent (い-adj + noun).

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