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enter image description hereI came across this sentence while playing Fire Emblem: Three houses.

時を巻き戻す力、おぬしにも使わせてやる。 際限なく使えはせぬゆえ気をつけよ!

ソティス explains that the player can rewind time to fix mistakes and change strategy. I think she says something to the effect of "I'll let you use the power to rewind time. You can't use this ability endlessly so be careful!" but I'm not sure.

What does 「使えはせぬ」mean in this passage?

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せぬ is せ+ぬ. せ is the pre-nai/negative form (未然形) of す, which is an archaic form of する. ぬ is an auxiliary verb corresponding to the modern ない. So, せぬ is equivalent to しない.

Thus 使えはせぬ is an archaic form of 使えはしない, meaning (you) cannot use (unlimitedly).

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    未然形にそれ自体で negative な意味はないので negative form と呼ばないほうがいいかも… pre-nai form か irrealis form がよく使われます
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 7:36
  • @naruto でもそれをいうとte-formもよくわからない気がしますが・・・標準的にはpre-naiなんですかね.
    – sundowner
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 7:37
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    個人的には pre-nai の方が分かりやすいので初心者にはそれを、古文とかの文脈だと pre-nai じゃ意味不明なので irrelis を、という感じに使い分けています。念のためですが te-form はテ/デも含んだ全体が te-form なのでこの名前でOKです。japanese.stackexchange.com/q/36310/5010
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 7:39

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