Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 10: 18/21


Can't not, No way to avoid


Verb[ない]+ わけにはいかない


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About ないわけにはいかない

As an extension of the grammar pattern (わけ)にはいかない 'can't afford to do (A)', or 'impossible to do (A)', ない(わけ)にはいかない creates a double negative which is frequently translated simply as 'can't not (A)', or 'no way to avoid (A)'.
As this is a combination of the negated form of a verb, (わけ) 'reason', or 'logic', に, は, and the negated form of ()く, the literal meaning is just 'there's no reason that (A) can't be done', or 'it cannot be so that (A) won't be done'.
  • いつもお世話(せわ)になっている先輩(せんぱい)結婚式(けっこんしき)だから、()きたくなくても()ない(わけ)にはいかない
    It's the wedding of a senior who has always been a great help to me, so even if I didn't want to go, I can't not go.
  • ダイエット(ちゅう)だからといって、(なに)()ない(わけ)にはいかない
    Just because I am on a diet doesn't mean that I can't not eat food.
  • めんどくさいからと()って、宿題(しゅくだい)をしない(わけ)にはいかない
    Just because it's a hassle doesn't mean that you can't not do your homework.
Compared to other similar structures like なければならない, ないといけない, and various others, ない(わけ)にはいかない implies that there are some circumstances as to why (A) cannot be avoided, so will often be used when giving an excuse or reasoning as to why one must do (A).




    Even though it is troublesome, there is no way to avoid having a meeting.


    Just because it is awkward after a fight, there's no way to avoid going to her birthday party.


    Even if it is just before the deadline, you can't not sleep at all. (no way to avoid)


    While I may be a student preparing for exams, I have a situation where I cannot avoid having a part time job.


    Although it is a menu I am used to, there is no way to avoid taste testing.

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ないわけにはいかない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (7 in total)

  • wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV


    For ないではいらない and ないわけにはいかない I think the difference might be the first is more compulsory whereas the latter is more of a foregone conclusion. The English translations you listed tend to blur this distinction, but when you consider ないではいらない is “cannot resist” and ないわけにはいかない is “no way to avoid,” I think the nuance might come through a little better.

    I got the いられない grammar points wrong several times before it started to sink in.

  • Fuga


    Hey there!

    They do have a very similar translation, but the nuance they have is different. ずにはいられない is used when you can’t help (control) yourself but to do something or act a certain way. ないわけにはいかない is usually used when you have to do something because there is an external force making you do something.

    For example,
    こんな美味しそうなケーキが目の前にあったら、食べずにはいられない。The nuance this carries is ‘If there was a cake that looks as delicious as this in front of me, I won’t be able to pass the opportunity to eat it (because I love cake and it looks delicious).’ In this sentence you have a reason why you cannot resist.

    友達が頑張って誕生日ケーキを作ってくれたから、不味くても食べないわけにはいかない。The nuance this has is ‘Because my friend tried their best and made me a birthday cake, there is no way I am not going to eat it even if it taste bad (because if I don’t eat it, it is going to hurt my friend’s feelings).’ In this sentence, you need to act a certain way because of a reason that is outside of your control.

  • Sfyri


    The English translations for these two examples on this point are really unnatural English from what is usually expressed in these situations.


    • ダイエット中だからといって、何も食べない訳にはいかない。

    Just because I am on a diet doesn’t mean that I can’t not eat food.

    The trouble comes from the triple negative. “Just because I’m on a diet” is expressing some kind of food restriction. That is followed by “doesn’t mean” which is used to negate what follows: “I can’t not eat food” or “I must eat food”/“eating food is unavoidable”.

    I suppose one could say someone is trying to say that they could starve themselves further and not eat at all, but that’s a totally unnatural thing to express here. Drop the ‘not’ and you get the natural “just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t eat. “.


    • めんどくさいからと言って、宿題をしない訳にはいかない。

    Just because it’s a hassle doesn’t mean that you can’t not d...

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