Fault: ~せいで & ~にかこつけて

第314課: Fault: ~せいで & ~にかこつけて

This lesson is all about ways in Japanese to give an excuse/reason in ways we have yet to see thus far in the curriculum. 


~せいで means “since/because of/due to” in the sense of blame. If you use this pattern with something that is generally perceived as being a good thing, it will sound strange and usually unnatural. You would have to do some explaining. The way to express this in a positive fashion is by using のおかげ(さま)で, which doesn’t always have to be used in a positive situation. The point is that at least it can. 


1. 妹のせいで、父に叱られた。
     I was scolded by my dad because of my little sister.

2. 俺のせいにすんな。(ちょっと失礼)
     Don’t blame me.

3. 津波のせいで食糧不足になった。
     We got into a food shortage due to the tsunami.

4. 病気のせいで、パーティーに行けなかった。
     I didn’t come to the party due to an illness.

5. 休みなのに強風と花粉のせいで家から出れない。(Casual)
    Although I’m on a break, due to strong winds and pollen, I can’t leave the house. 

6a. 彼が失敗したのは怠惰のせいだ。
6b. 彼が失敗したのは怠けたからだ。(More natural)
      He failed because of his laziness.

7. 雨のせいで、遅刻した。
    I arrived later due to the rain.

8. 彼は疲労のせいで、眠いというよりも疲れているのです。
    He is less sleepy than tired due to his fatigue.


As the adverbial particle か shows uncertainty, it shows in translation when used with せい.

9. 天気のせいか、気分が悪い。
     I don’t know if it’s because of the weather, but I feel bad.

10. 山田さんは、試験ができなかったせいか今日は元気がありません。
      Mr. Yamada isn’t well today apparently because he did bad on his exam.


出口: うん、食中たりのせいかお腹が痛いんだ。
Kobayashi: You look a little bad; what’s wrong?
Deguchi: Yeah, I think my stomache’s hurting because of food poisoning. 


Nakada: What’s wrong?
Kawasaki: My head is hurting cause I might have gotten a cold last night.
Nakada: Well, how about getting home quickly and sleep?  


The 一段 verb 託ける means “to use as an excuse” and ~に託けて is often translated  as “under (the excuse of)”. 

The Spanish Conquistadors attacked and utterly destroyed the Aztec Empire under the name of religion.

14. 彼は雪に託けて仕事をサボった。
      He skipped work under the excuse of snow.