I was reading this answer and I came across this:

(A) 何もしないで暖かくする (ambiguous)

(B) 何もしなくて暖かくする (unambiguous)

I'm not sure why A is ambiguous, but here's my understanding: unlike なくて, ないで doesn't imply a cause, so it could either mean that not doing anything keeps you warm or not. However, in the same answer, it says that B does not mean "keep the body warm by not doing any activity," which contradicts what I know about なくて, that is, it implies a cause. In other words, I would translate both as follows:

(A) 何もしないで暖かくする。

Somebody doesn't do anything and keeps warm.

not necessarily Somebody keeps warm by not doing anything.

(B) 何もしなくて暖かくする。

Somebody keeps warm by not doing anything.

not Somebody doesn't do anything and keeps warm.

  • You are using “by” to indicate means, not cause.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 21, 2021 at 23:53
  • @aguijonazo By the means of not doing anything, I keep warm. So, If I don't do anything, I keep warm.
    – Nameless
    Dec 22, 2021 at 1:32
  • 暖かくする refers to something you intentionally do, possibly using some means, not something that happens as a result of some external cause. It is essential to distinguish cause and means here because ないで may indicate means or attendant circumstances, but not cause.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 22, 2021 at 2:10
  • Having said that, I would understand A (only) the way you did, and would have to think very hard to guess what B is supposed to mean. It sounds so unnatural.
    – aguijonazo
    Dec 22, 2021 at 2:24
  • I'm confused. When you say "cause", do you mean external cause? Because something you intentionally do causes something.
    – Nameless
    Dec 22, 2021 at 2:49


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