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.

Hi all I was wondering what is the difference between these two sentences:

  1. 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」

  2. 「決して悪気がある回答ではないです。」

I can't really make out the gist of the meaning of 「あっての」.

WWWJDIC's explanation of 「あっての」 is "which can exist solely due to the presence of" (rather confusing..) and the example sentences do not really give much clue to the meaning/usage of the word.

share|improve this question
    
Source: qweop.com/uf –  Pacerier Sep 24 '11 at 23:08

2 Answers 2

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I think that the あっての in your example is different from the one in the dictionary.

悪気があっての回答 means “a reply given out of malice.” 悪気がある回答 means “a malicious reply.” The former describes the state of the person who made the reply, whereas the latter describes an attribute of the reply itself. So I would translate the two examples as

  1. I did not reply (do the reply) out of malicious intent by any means.
  2. The reply is not malicious by any means.
share|improve this answer
    
Yeah, I like this better. –  istrasci Sep 25 '11 at 14:13
    
@Ito can I request for a breakdown of the あっての you used in your answer? I'm having difficulty understanding since I can't see a verb for "written". Or is the context of "writing" implied and the verb for "write" is elided?. I cannot link 悪気 to the person's state when he is writing. –  Flaw Sep 25 '11 at 14:30
    
@Flaw: While I understand the meaning of this expression as a native speaker, I have to admit that I have trouble analyzing the expression. 悪気があっての回答 is almost the same as 悪気があってした回答, and I translated する in this context as “write,” which was why my translation contained the verb “write.” But thinking about it, I changed “write” to “give” because there is nothing that implies that the reply was written somewhere (it might be orally communicated). –  Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 25 '11 at 14:39
    
@Tsuyoshi. Heys thanks for the answer =D btw I've edited abit of the answer, if you think it's not suitable feel free to revert it. Also just to confirm, is the sentence 「決して悪気があっての回答ではないです。」 "natural-sounding" or does it sound weird? –  Pacerier Sep 25 '11 at 18:45
    
@Pacerier: 決して悪気があっての回答ではないです is natural in informal context. In formal context, ありません sounds better to me than ないです, but there is nothing wrong with the other part. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Sep 29 '11 at 19:09

Yes, ~あっての indicates an almost 100% dependency on the ~ part. My book defines it as 「~があるという条件があってはじめて~が可能」ということを強調する. Here are the accompanying examples that might make more sense:

  • 愛あっての結婚生活だ。愛がなければ、一緒に暮らす意味がない。 → A marriage (lifestyle) depends completely on love. If there's no love, there's no point in living together.
  • 私たちはお客様あっての仕事ですから、お客様を何より大切にしています。 → Ours is a job based entirely around our clients, so we always place the highest importance on them.

As for your examples, it's hard to tell the difference in the meaning. It's almost like the first one admits that it might have been somewhat malicious ("It is by no means a 100% malicious answer (but it might have been a little).") Whereas the second one seems like absolutely nothing about it was malicious at all. Tough call.

share|improve this answer
    
Heys thanks for the explanation =D Btw I've added a link to the source: qweop.com/uf –  Pacerier Sep 24 '11 at 23:09

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.