Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 6: 16/24


Cannot afford to, No way, Impossible to do


Verb + わけにはいかない


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About わけにはいかない

わけにはいかない is a statement that combines わけ 'to be so', 'reason', or 'cause', with the case marking particle , the adverbial particle は, and the 'cannot go' meaning of ()かない. It can be translated as 'cannot afford to (A)', or 'impossible to (A)'. However, the literal meaning is much closer to 'it cannot be so that (A)'.
This structure will be used directly after the non-past form of verbs, in order to highlight them as being either highly undesirable, or highly unattainable.
  • この料理(りょうり)(つま)頑張(がんば)って()ってくれたやつだから不味(まず)くても()べないわけにはいかない
    My wife made this food for me, so no matter how bad it tastes, it cannot be so that I won't eat it.
  • 明日(あした)人手(ひとで)()ないから(やす)わけにはいかない
    Since we are short-handed tomorrow, I cannot afford to take a day off.
Although わけにはいかない primarily highlights things that are undesirable, it may also highlight something that is desirable, but impossible for some reason. This will depend largely on the speaker's tone of voice, and context of the conversation.
  • このジャケット()しいけど今月(こんげつ)はお(かね)使(つか)()ぎたから()わけにはいかない
    I want this Jacket, but because I spent too much money this month, it cannot be so that I buy it.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)(さそ)われから(ことわ)わけにはいかない
    I was invited by my senpai, so there is no way that I can decline the offer.
In these types of sentences, the expression is quite similar to the 'I guess it's just not meant to be so' nuance that can be conveyed in English, highlighting regret.




    I cannot afford to silently overlook that problem.


    Since I was asked by the president I can't afford to say no.


    I failed the JLPT last time, so I cannot afford to fail it a second time.


    I broke a promise with her once before, so this time I cannot afford to break another.


    I can't afford to throw it away. I got it from my special someone.

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