Stumped by grammar: こわくってたまらず

While hacking my way through Snow White / 白雪姫 on 青空文庫, I’ve found myself waylaid by a grammar question I couldn’t google my way through.

こわくってたまらず

My first guess is something like “Without enduring the fear,” but if so, then why the adverbial く, and what’s the って doing? I know って has uses beyond quoting, but I haven’t seen it used like this yet. Kanji would be helpful here, since こわく as a noun could mean 蠱惑 enchantment / fascination (without enduring the enchantment?), but the book uses minimal kanji, and it still wouldn’t make to sense to me either way because of the って. Maybe I’m parsing it wrong.

助けてくれてありがとう。

Here is the full sentence for context:

さて、かわいそうなお姫さまは、大きな森の中で、たったひとりぼっちになってしまって、こわくってたまらず、いろいろな木の葉っぱを見ても、どうしてよいのか、わからないくらいでした。

1 Like

It’s the same as こわくてたまらない (extremely scared)

The って is just an emphasis of て here.

6 Likes

Do you know about the ず form of negation? たまらず is basically たまらなくて. たまらない means something like “cannot endure”.

As for こわくって, it’s basically just こわくて. It’s a more casual variant. I’ve seen this used a lot on manga by kids or girls who are supposed to sound cute. I see it like an emphatic construction.

こわくてたまらない means something like “so afraid she couldn’t endure it”.

edit: ffs Leebo :frowning:

7 Likes

Thank you for the quick replies! After reading this, and a Maggie Sensei on たまらない, I’m up to speed.

And yes, I know the zu negative form. For some reason I prefer using it to a simple negative-te verb, even though it can sound unnatural in speech. It just has a nice ring to it and I can’t help myself.

3 Likes

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.