Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 6: 17/20

Classical negative, Classical verb [ない]

Some set phrases cannot be rephrased to ない


Verb[ない+ + Noun

する → せ
くる → こ
いる → おら


  • Register


  • 使用域


About ぬ

is the attributive form of ず, a classical auxiliary verb that is used for negation like ない, and connects to verbs in the same way.
As is the attributive form of ず, it may be seen modifying nouns that directly follow it. However, this use is not common in modern times, and in many cases it will be used as part of set expressions that have not changed in the time since ない became the far more widely used structure for negation. Alternatively, it may just be used for artistic expression, or to make a character seem 'classical'.
  • こんなに(せま)(みち)(とお)
    I cannot pass a road this narrow.
  • なんだこの(めし)は!こんなまずそうなものは(くち)()
    What is this food? I will not put this disgusting thing in my mouth!
  • 貴様(きさま)みたいなものには、わしなど(ころ)
    I cannot be killed by someone like you.
In the case that the verb being negated is いる, the old fashion おる will be modified to おらぬ instead.
  • 鈴木(すずき)殿(どの)はここにはおらぬ
    Suzuki-dono is not here.
Alternatively, する will be negated as せぬ, and くる will be negated as こぬ. This is consistent with the standard conjugation patterns seen with the use of ず.
  • あの(かた)(ひと)(きず)つけるようなことはせぬ
    That person would never do anything to hurt anyone.
  • (ばあ)さんが(かわ)から(かえ)ってこぬ
    My wife won't come back from the river.



  • (すみ)()(ひと)」というのは「(あなど)れない(ひと)」ということなのだ。

    'Sumi ni okenu hito' means 'a person who cannot be taken lightly'.

    • こちらでは(せい)による差別(さべつ)許可(きょか)されておら

      Sex discrimination is not permitted here.

      • (おろ)(もの)(おとこ)には(ころ)のだ。」

        'Fool, no man can kill me.'

        • ()までもないことだが、知人(ちじん)(たい)して素知(そし)ふりをするのは失礼(しつれい)ある

          Needless to say, pretending not to know acquaintances is rude.

          素知らぬ means 'to feign or pretend not to know'.

          • 上司(じょうし)部下(ぶか)向上(こうじょう)できるように、(いた)(てん)(おし)えてあげるべきだ。

            A superior should tell his/her subordinates where they fall short so that they can improve.

            • Get more example sentences!

              Premium users get access to 12 example sentences on all Grammar Points.

            Self-Study Sentences

            Study your own way!

            Add sentences and study them alongside Bunpro sentences.

            • Online

            • Offline

              • Tobira

                Page 260

              • Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide

                Page 282

              • A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns

                Page 493

            • Track Resources!

              Bunpro tracks all of the resources you’ve visited, and offers relevant bookmarks of physical books to help with offline tracking.

            ぬ – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

            • nekoyama


              There is a grammar point for ずに.

            • s1212z


              There are ~12 V-ず grammar points right now and most are adverbial v-ずに while ぬ is a modifier as an archaic ない. I didn’t see anything that was interchangeable between these two, was there a specific usage that hasn’t been covered yet for ず?

            • Ambo100


              ずに looks like the most relevant one I think, I’ll have a look at that.

            Got questions about ぬ? Join us to discuss, ask, and learn together!

            Join the Discussion