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Doing X without Y happening

lanthas

 
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Textbooks and online courses are eager to teach you how to say "Person A did X without doing Y" using ~ないで and ~ずに. I'm wondering if there's a similar pattern for saying "Person A did X without Y happening", where the subject of Y is specifically not that same person.

A silly video game-related example: "I didn't know you could place doors in lava without them catching fire." My first attempt at writing this in Japanese was 「溶岩の中にドアを燃えずに置けるのは知りませんでした」, but I realized that this would sound like "Placing doors in lava without catching fire (yourself)".

I eventually settled with ドアを置くと燃えない, but is there a better way of saying this?

よろしくお願いします。
 

Majestic

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Hmm, looks like you are over-thinking it and getting thrown off track. I think your first attempt was pretty close. You correctly identified the door as the object of the sentence, so I don't think it would be possible to interpret it as "you catching fire yourself".

In your second attempt (or, the fragment that you have) you will lose the meaning of the original sentence. You are saying, in essence, "put the door (here, there) and it won't burn". You are getting slightly derailed. You were doing better with 燃えず.

A question; is the door getting submerged into the lava, or is it getting placed on top of the lava (and used like a raft, for example)?
 

Toritoribe

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I would say 溶岩の中 / 上に、燃やさずにドアが置けるとは知りませんでした。
 

lanthas

 
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In your second attempt (or, the fragment that you have) you will lose the meaning of the original sentence. You are saying, in essence, "put the door (here, there) and it won't burn".
Indeed, it doesn't exactly match the original intent; hence I asked if there was a better way.

A question; is the door getting submerged into the lava, or is it getting placed on top of the lava (and used like a raft, for example)?
The door is literally being placed in the lava, that is, submerged. (in order to create an air pocket where players can stand safely)

I would say 溶岩の中 / 上に、燃やさずにドアが置けるとは知りませんでした。
Right, if you make ドア the subject, things become easier - thank you. And of course I should've used a quotation particle instead of a normalizer, but I realized that too late.

Is it OK to use the transitive 燃やす though, even though it's not the door that's (not) setting things on fire (it's the lava)?
 

lanthas

 
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I think your first attempt was pretty close. You correctly identified the door as the object of the sentence, so I don't think it would be possible to interpret it as "you catching fire yourself".
My understanding so far is that, in a sentence such as ...ずに...る, both parts must have the same subject. That is: if the subject of 置ける is the player, then that same player is automatically also the subject of 燃える, which is not what I want. Changing the subject of 置ける to the door instead (as suggested by Toritoribe) solves this.

If you say that the first attempt was more or less correct, does that mean that this understanding is incorrect, and that the two parts actually can have different subjects?
 

Majestic

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It's all a bit too forensic for me. In any case I think the subject of the sentence is "I" (not the door). The door would be the direct object, which is why I thought を should be there, but in Toritoribe-san's translation he's used the topic marker が. I don't think が here implies that door is the subject. I think the subject stays as "I" and the が is indicating the first time the topic of "door" is introduced. It's not a construction that would have occurred to me - still a flyweight at this.

In the English original, the hypothetical "you" is doing the placing, and the door itself is doing the "not catching fire", but these are secondary subjects embedded into the dependent clause (you could place doors in lava without them catching fire), so you wouldn't say the door was the subject of the sentence - at least not in the English version.

Anyway, in the Japanese I think the subject stays as "I", and so if I'm not mistaken Toritoribe-san's translation would be something like "I didn't know I could place the door in the lava without (me) burning the door". If that is the case it is a very elegant translation for what in English is a very (unnecessarily) complicated sentence.

I will be keen to see how Toritoribe-san dissects this.
 

Kraise

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Isnt the が in ドアが置ける, just the particle usually used in 可能形 phrases? Also I think that 燃やすis used here in the same sense one would say 凍らしたジュース,instead of 凍ったジュース anyway, I'm also waiting for toritoriさん's
 

Toritoribe

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In my sentence 溶岩の中 / 上に、燃やさずにドアが置けるとは知りませんでした。, the subjects of 燃やさず and 置ける are both "I", and が is the object marker of the potential verb 置ける, as already pointed out. Therefore 燃やさずにドアを置ける is also correct. (And 置けるのは知りませんでした is correct as well. This は works as a contrastive marker, so 置けるのは has a nuance of "I already know something but didn't know 置ける".)

As for 燃えずに置ける, although this is a bit ungrammatical, I, either, don't think the subject of 燃えず is "I". Probably that's because 燃える usually isn't used for people. 焼かれずに would be used instead.

When the verb that is attached to ずに is non-volitional, the two subjects can be different in the structure ~ずに…する.
e.g.
最近雨が降らずに晴ればかり続いている。
不思議なことに、花も咲かずに実がなった。

~なくて or ~ず can be used for volitional verbs, but this is for explaining the cause/reason of the main clause.
e.g.
近頃うちの猫が餌をあまり食べなくて / 食べず、心配だ。(= 食べないので心配だ。)
 

lanthas

 
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Thanks for your explanation, it cleared up a lot. I didn't know yet that the が that can replace を with potential verbs is actually a different particle from the usual subject marker (although it did feel weird to interpret it as such). Since I keep encountering these new uses of particles, like は/が being "upgraded" to が/の in subordinate clauses and を being used with intransitive verbs, I should probably find another course that goes more in-depth on this topic; suggestions are welcome.
 
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