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Original video

I am trying to decipher:

知らない方がいいって事もあるんです

The translation that is provided with this phrase is "Some things are better off left unknown." I'm trying to break this down but I'm stuck.

I know that 知らない方がいい means "it is better to not know" and 〜事があるんです can describe having the experience of doing something. What I don't understand is this って construction in the middle—can anyone explain how this affects the meaning of the sentence? (Did I transcribe it properly?)

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For more on the quotative って see japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/6541/… and –  virmaior Feb 17 at 21:43
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The original video has も in place of が. –  Hyperworm Feb 17 at 23:07
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You need to forget the notion that "〜事があるんです can describe having the experience of doing something". It does not apply here. –  非回答者 Feb 18 at 1:45
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@TokyoNagoya can you explain how it's being used in this sentence? –  Jeremy Swinarton Feb 19 at 3:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This 「~~って」 is a quotative particle and it is the colloquial form of 「~~という」 in the sentence in question. You will keep encountering those as long as you study Japanese and this is an understatement. In reality, you simply could not speak natural Japanese without using the quotative particle even for a minute, period.

So, who are we quoting? In this case, no one ---- or at least. no one in particular. In my own words, the speaker is merely representing the "general public" by implying "Here is how (most) people, myself included, would think or say." or "Here is what they would say if you asked their opinion."

[知]{し}らない[方]{ほう}がいいって[事]{こと} = things that (people would think/say) are better off if you/they did not know about

~~事もあるんです = there are (also) things that ~~

This ことがある has nothing to do with "to have the experience of ~~". For it to mean that, it needs to be preceded by a verb in the past tense --- as in 行ったことがある, 食べたことがある, etc.

Finally, the difference between 「知らない方がいいって事もあるんです」 and 「知らない方がいい事もあるんです」 is that the former sounds indirect and less assertive, which is exactly what many Japanese people like. The latter sounds more confident by not "quoting the imaginary general public" to back up the speaker's opinion.

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知らない方がいいって事もあるんです

って is a casual quoting particle that can replace various combinations such as という

with that in mind the sentence becomes

「知らない方がいい」 という事 も あるんです

Which literally means :

Things (called / you say / said) "better off left unknown" (also) exist.

Using も instead of が emphasizes the (also/even) part.

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  • 知らない (しらない) - Not knowing, unknown
  • 方がいい (ほうがいい) - It is better
  • って -Indicating something was said or indicated
  • 事もある (こともある) - There are/is also (literally 'there also exists this thing')
  • んです - Sentence ending phrase like "so it is"

So if you put it all together you can say "Said things also exist which are better not known" or in more natural English "Some things are better left unknown"

Hope that helps break it down clearly.

A better example of って would be: - すし*って*どういうものですか? - What kind of thing is called 'sushi' (or more naturally - what is this thing called sushi?)

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