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I am currently in my third year of japanese studies, and in lesson 29 of 皆の日本語, we learned to use vb-て+しまいます or しまいました to emphasize the action or its completion, or the embarrassment, regret of the speaker. I now have an exercise, in which I need to complete the following sentence : 私が結婚したかった人は、ほかの人と「Verb here」.

Given the available verbs, I guess I have to add 結婚してしまいました、but would the meaning be rather : "I wanted to marry, so I am already married" or "I wanted to marry, but sadly I couldn't". Or maybe the exercise is just silly...

Thanks in advance, ウルカン

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

First, let me write out the complete sentence you suggested:

私が結婚したかった人は、ほかの人と結婚してしまいました。

The topic of this sentence is 私が結婚したかった人. In this topic, the noun ("the person") is modified by the relative clause 私が結婚したかった ("I wanted to marry"). The subject particle links to結婚したかった. Since it's part of a relative clause, it doesn't link up with other verbs later in the sentence. In particular, it doesn't link to 結婚してしまいました ("regrettably married").

In fact, this whole sentence is more or less split in half by the topic particle. The rest of the sentence, ほかの人と結婚してしまいました ("regrettably married someone else") is a comment on the person identified by the topic particle ("The person I wanted to marry").

So the full sentence in English means something like:

The person I wanted to marry regrettably married someone else.

(I'm not sure how obvious it is in my translation, so I want to clarify that the speaker is the one who is experiencing regret, not the person who married someone else.)

This sentence does not contain the meaning "I am already married", and it only indirectly means "but sadly I couldn't".

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Thanks a lot for your very clear explanation, I should have paid more attention to the various particles ! –  Urukann Jun 19 '13 at 11:41
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