Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 8: 20/22

ずには居(い)られない
cannot help doing something, cannot resist doing something

する → せず

Structure
Casual
Polite
Verb[ない+ ずにはいられない
Verb[ない+ ずにはいられません
Details
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使用域 硬い
Information
As mentioned in our ずに lesson, ず is a 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) that is not commonly used in modern Japanese, except for in set expressions. It has the equivalent role of ない, in expressing that something ‘has not’, or ‘will not’ happen. The 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) is then combined with the 副助詞(ふくじょし) (adverbial particle) は, and the negative-potential form of いる, いられない. ずにはいられない may be translated as ‘cannot help doing (A)’, or ‘cannot resist doing (A)'.
ずにはいられない will be attached to the 未然形(みぜんけい) (indeterminate form) of verbs. This is the same stem form as ない uses.
  • 美味(おい)しそうなステーキ目(め)の前(まえ)にあったら、食(た)べずにはいられない
    If there is a delicious looking steak in front of me, there is no way I can resist eating it.
  • この映画(えいが)見(み)る誰(だれ)でも泣(な)かずにはいられない
    No matter who you are, if you watch this movie, there is no way you can not cry.
Although ずにはいられない is often translated as ‘cannot resist (A)’, the literal meaning is simply ‘cannot be without (A)’.
Caution
As the modern 未然形(みぜんけい) of する has several different forms, care will need to be taken when conjugating する verbs. While ない joins with し to create しない, ず will join with せ to create せず.
  • この10年間(ねんかん)色々(いろいろ)お世話(せわ)になったから、先輩(せんぱい)は感謝(かんしゃ)ずにはいられない
    This past 10 years, I have been helped a lot by my senpai, so there is no way I can go on without showing them some appreciation.
  • 私(わたし)は猫(ねこ)アレルギーなのでくしゃみずにはいられない
    I am allergic to cats so I can't not sneeze.
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子供(こども)が生(う)まれて泣(な)かずにはいられない
You can’t help but cry when your child is born.
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事故(じこ)が起(お)こったら、助(たす)けずにはいられない
When an accident occurs, you can't help but help out.
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それを思(おも)い出(だ)すたびに恥(は)ずかしくならずにはいられない
Everytime I recall that I can't help but get embarassed.
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