So I saw these particles in a definition and a song.

First, as ひとりでに, which got translated as by itself (this got approved by the way) and then "単独にでなく", which I'm guessing means not being done in/by independence/singleness (I don't know the word 単独 by the way I searched up it's Japanese and English definition). What do these words mean?

  • I’m not sure the で in ひとりでに is a particle. I’ve always thought it is 手 though I’m not completely sure it’s etymologically correct. The latter is 「単独に」で(は)なく.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 27, 2022 at 1:03
  • @aguijonazo Oh, I never thought it can be 手. Do you have any reason to think so?
    – naruto
    Apr 27, 2022 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


ひとりでに is a lexicalized adverb which has its own entry in dictionaries:

You'll basically have to remember ひとりでに as a non-divisible fixed expression, and go on. The same is true with some fixed rentaishi such as 大きな; you have to remember this because it doesn't follow the basic conjugation pattern of i-adjectives.

単独にでなく is made of three words, and can be straightforwardly analyzed by the standard grammar:

  • 単独に: individually; in isolation; separately
  • : (continuative form of the copula だ)
  • なく: not

So it just means "not individually", "not in an isolated manner", etc.

  • thanks!! i really appreciate it
    – Star Peep
    Apr 27, 2022 at 21:35

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