仕方がない literal meaning?


#1

I know It Can’t Be Helped is a more natural translation, but I find knowing the literal translation to be a useful memory tool.

I’m taking it as “Way [Subject particle] is non existent” or in other words something like “That right way can’t be found for that/them”.

Or if that’s not quite right, is ga at least acting as a particle here? Thanks!


#2

You should look up the meanings of 仕方, maybe your interpretation “way” is too literal. It means a way (to do things), a method, how to (do) things. (仕 puts emphasis on actually doing something.) So it could mean “[there] is no way to do [this]” or “can’t be done”.


#3

yes. here “ga” is a particle. there are some vocabs that are common phrases and include particles. shikata ga nai is one of them. Some other examples of this are

興味ない(きょうみがない)no interest (from level 34)
紛れない(まぎれもない)certain (from level 46)
いい加減しろ(いいかげんにしろ)cut it out (from level 21)