Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If someone says それだけ、食べないでください, does it mean:

  1. Please don't eat only that [eat other things too!]

    or

  2. [You can eat anything you like but] only that, please don't eat it.


What about それだけ、たべてください? Does it mean:

  1. Please eat only that [and don't eat anything else].

    or

  2. [I don't really care if you eat anything else but] only that, please eat it.

share|improve this question
1  
That seems terribly ambiguous to me without context or voiced stress... -_-;; –  deceze Jun 22 '11 at 9:20
    
do you mean the phrase それだけ、食べないでください could mean either 1) or 2) depending on context/voice stress? –  Pacerier Jun 22 '11 at 9:33
    
The makes this pretty ambiguous IMO. If you read this with a pause after and/or stress on だけ, I'd say it means "don't eat that". Without the pause/stress I'd read this as "don't eat only that". Have you seen this written like this or just heard it? Do you have more context? –  deceze Jun 22 '11 at 9:50
    
i've not got context though. i read it here: guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/amount which sparked off this question.. –  Pacerier Jun 22 '11 at 10:01
1  
That's actually quite different, there it says それだけ. –  deceze Jun 22 '11 at 10:03

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is really ambiguous and depends on how it's stressed/paused:

それだけ食べないでください。
"Please don't eat only that."

それだけ、食べないでください。
"Please don't eat that. (Eat anything else.)"

The actual sentence seems to have been this though:

それだけは、食べないでください。
    ^

That marks それだけ as the topic, which clearly means "Please don't eat that."

share|improve this answer
    
heys btw is it true that even if there is a comma (それだけ、食べないでください), it is still ambiguous? –  Pacerier Jun 29 '11 at 14:04
    
In your second sentence, is だけ just a "stresser"? In other words, it just puts emphasis on それ. –  dotnetN00b Apr 26 '12 at 22:22

As the comments to the question state, I guess it's just very ambiguous. Real life would probably provide you with something like "everything else is ok, but…" or "if there is no other choice but to do so, then…"

Anyway, without context, for the first sentence, I would lean towards "please don't eat this one" ("it's for the boss").

For the second sentence, however, it just seems a bit weird to say "please only eat that" :) One would rather say "それだけ食べていいですよ" (you may only eat this), so I would understand "at least, eat that".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.