785 - ~てやまない

JLPT N1: ~てやまない

When you want to emphasize that you feel something very strongly, particularly a feeling toward a person, you can use ~てやまない.

The nuance is that you can't help but feel something very strongly, or that you will continue to feel a certain way forever.
An example:

彼らが無事に帰ってくることを祈っやみません
かれら が ぶじに かえって くる こと を いのってやみません。
I pray with all of my heart that they will return home safely.
Literally: “they + が + safely + return home (and) + come + こと + を + pray (and) + やみません.”


Since this is talking about one's strong feelings, you normally won't see it being used to describe how other people feel. Usually the speaker will be describing how he or she feels about something.

~てやまない has a formal ring to it, by the way. You won't hear it in your everyday casual conversation.

Kanji lovers may be interested to know that ~てやまない is using the verb 止む (やむ // to cease; to stop). This is similar to the verb 止まる (とまる // to stop; to come to a halt), which you've probably come across many times by now.

 

Here's another example:

ご昇進おめでとうございます。今後の更なるご活躍を願っやみません
ごしょうしん おめでとう ございます。 こんご の さらなる ごかつやく を ねがってやみません。
Congratulations on your promotion. I cannot wait to see what further contributions you make from here on.
Literally: “promotions + congratulations. + from now on + の + even more + activity / great efforts + を + desire / hope (and) + やみません.”


Perhaps a more literal translation of 願ってやみません would have been "I greatly hope that..." or "I sincerely hope that..."

But that causes the nuance to be lost, I think, as that makes it sound like the speaker isn't sure about the quality of the future work of the listener. It could sound borderline rude in this situation, I think.

To make the sentence sound more positive, I went with "I cannot wait to see..."

Perhaps you could think of an even better translation, though... ^_^

 

~てやまない does not necessarily have to be at the end of our sentence.

In our next two examples, it is being used to modify a noun...

来年、私たちが愛しやまないハワイに引っ越すことに決めました。
らいねん、 わたしたち が あいしてやまない ハワイ に ひっこす こと に きめました。
We just love Hawaii, and we’ve decided to move there next year.
Literally: “next year, + we + が + love (and) + やまない + Hawaii + に + move + こと + に + decided.”


ゴッホは僕が尊敬しやまない画家です。
ゴッホ は ぼく が そんけい してやまない がか です。
Van Gogh is an artist that has my unending admiration.
Literally: “Van Gogh + は + I + が + respect / esteem + do (and) + やまない + painter / artist + です.”


Last of all, I should mention that you can't just randomly choose verbs to use with ~てやまない. It is only used with specific verbs like 祈る (いのる // to pray; to hope), 願う (ねがう // to hope), 愛する (あいする // to love), etc.

If you haven't heard a Japanese person use a particular verb with ~てやまない, then you probably shouldn't use it yourself.
 

That's all for this one. Not too hard, maybe?
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