Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 8: 21/22

無(な)し
without, no

Structure
Casual
Formal
Noun + なし
Phrase + なし
Noun + なし + + Noun
Noun + なし
Phrase + なしです
Noun + なし + + Noun
Details
Register Formal
使用域 硬い
Information
Although it is used almost exclusively as a 接尾語(せつびご) (suffix), なし is actually a noun that means ないこと ‘thing without’. なし, or 無(な)し when using kanji, will be used after nouns that it is indicating as ‘not having (A)'.
Depending on what the speaker wants to convey, なし is often partnered with the 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) , or its conjunctive form で. なしで will mean ‘(A) that is without (B)’. When connected directly to another noun, の will be required after なし. Again, this will mean ‘(A) that is without (B)'.
  • その考(かんが)えは間違(まちがい)いなし
    That way of thinking is without error. (That way of thinking is flawless)
  • 許可(きょか)なしで公園(こうえん)店(みせ)出(だ)さないで下(くだ)さい
    Please don't put up a store in the park without permission.
  • 肉(く)なし人気(にんき)料理(りょうり)はなんですか。
    What is a popular dish without meat?
なし does not always need to be connected directly to another noun. Often, it can be used in reference to an event or thing that someone wants to skip, or avoid. In cases like this, it may be paired with the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) , to show determination to avoid something.
  • 昨日(きのう)は沢山(たくさん)食(た)べたから、今日(きょう)は昼飯(ひるめし)なしにする
    Because I ate a lot yesterday, I am going to skip eating lunch today.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)が来(く)る盛(も)り下(さ)がるから、先輩(せんぱい)なしにしよう。
    Let's avoid inviting our senpai because he kills the mood.
Caution
無(な)し is quite different to 抜(ぬ)き, another suffix-like structure that is used to convey ‘without (A)’. The primary difference is in the original meanings of these words. Having a relationship with ない, なし simply means ‘without’. 抜(ぬ)き comes from the う - Verb 抜(ぬ)く ‘to remove’. Due to this, 抜(ぬ)き implies the intentional removal of something. Often 抜(ぬ)き and 無(な)し are interchangeable, but not always.
  • わさび抜(ぬ)きでお願(ねが)いします。
    Remove the wasabi please.
  • 唐辛子(とうがらし)無(な)しでお願(ねが)いします。
    Without the red peppers please.
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商品(しょうひん)ラベル:「砂糖(さとう)なしダイエットドリンク」
Product label: "Diet drink without sugar"
'Sugar-free drink for weight loss'.
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ことわざ:「死人(しにん)に口(くち)なしだ。」
Proverb: "Dead men tell no tales."
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告白(こくはく):「あなたなし生(い)きていけない。」
Confession of love: "I cannot live without you."
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