Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 9: 18/23


Very, Extremely, Can't help but do


Verb[て]+ ならない
[い]Adjective[て]+ ならない
[な]Adjective + で + ならない


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About てならない

てならない is a construction made up of the て-form of a verb or adjective (で for な-Adjectives), and the negated form of the う-Verb なる, 'to become'. This expression describes the word that is attached to it as being 'extremely (A)', or that one 'can't help but do (A)'.
In most cases, てならない will be used when (A) is something that occurs naturally, such as feelings. Due to this, a more literal translation is close to 'to not be able to move on from (A)'. In this way, it just indicates that (A) is so intense that the person affected by it cannot do anything about it.
  • 昨日(きのう)徹夜(てつや)して勉強(べんきょう)してたから、(ねむ)てならない
    I was up all night studying yesterday, so I'm extremely sleepy.
  • 愛知県(あいちけん)(なつ)(あつ)てならない
    Summer in Aichi prefecture is extremely hot.
  • ここ5年間(ねんかん)(むすめ)連絡(れんらく)がつかないから、心配(しんぱい)でならない
    I can't help but to feel worried because I haven't heard from my daughter in 5 years.
Caution - In addition to being spontaneous and uncontrollable, (A) will almost always be something that is ongoing, rather than just being momentary.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)はいつも(ぼく)(うそ)をつくからむかついてならない
    I can't help but be extremely mad at her because she lies to me all the time. (Continuing feeling, natural Japanese)
  • この漫画(まんが)はつまらなくてならない
    This manga is extremely boring. (Momentary feeling, unnatural Japanese)



  • 詐欺(さぎ)にあった()がしてならない

    I can't help but feel it was a scam.

  • 日本(にほん)()てから、家族(かぞく)()えず、(さび)しくてならない

    Since coming to Japan, I haven't been able to see my family and can't help but feel lonely.

  • (こん)週末(しゅうまつ)同窓会(どうそうかい)()けないので、残念(ざんねん)ならない

    Since I can't go to my class reunion this weekend I can't help but feel disappointed.

  • あんなコレクション無駄(むだ)(おも)てならない

    I cannot help but think that that collection is worthless.

  • サイレンが()()まないから、心配(しんぱい)でならない

    I am extremely worried because that siren won't stop ringing.

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てならない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (7 in total)

  • ljoekelsoey


    About 2 years ago

    @s1212z , did you ever find if this was completely interchangeable or not?

  • s1212z


    About 2 years ago

    It would need to be 気せずにはいられない but the が is locked here as part of the example, otherwise I believe it would be interchangeable.

  • mrnoone


    About 2 years ago

    @ljoekelsoey @s1212z

    To be honest, I would stick to てならない in this example.

    ずにはいられない is generally used in contexts when one wants to do something so bad that they cannot control themselves. Expresses strong impulse.
    I would say that average Japanese would not really understand what one means by:

    てならない is more generic.

    I hope it helps,

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