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I saw this sentence in a train advertisement for a job placement agency:


I don't sense a future tense at all in the independent (latter) clause because the verb is simply いる rather than a "can" form like 〜える/〜れる/〜ける。The sentence feels disjointed as the tenses don't agree.

I feel that the following sentence expresses the same thing, but with a better match between the clauses:


Translating the original sentence literally to English as:

If you don't say goodbye to the present, there is a you that you will never meet.

sounds just as wrong because of the "is". It should be "there will be a you that you never meet".

I understand きっと to mean "certainly", but does きっといる here serve as a future tense?

EDIT: Inserted missing "you" in translation from dainichi's comment. Revised title.

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きっと only serve as "certainly" here. You can remove it from the sentence it won't change the meaning. Don't think it as a future you but rather, an other you. So you first translation try is correct. –  oldergod Jan 31 '12 at 2:56
Does 'There's a you that you will never meet unless you say goodbye to the present' sound better? –  dainichi Jan 31 '12 at 10:34
I don't really see why this question should have been downvoted -- if you think the premises are mistaken, or that the questioner is trying too hard to fit Japanese into an Indo-European concept of tense or whatever, that's the sort of thing that makes a good answer, not a reason for a downvote. –  Matt Feb 1 '12 at 5:13

1 Answer 1

No, きっと means "certainly" here.

I don't understand what you find wrong with 'is' in your translation. Insert a 'you' before 'will' and it makes perfect sense.

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Thanks for pointing out the missing "you". But it doesn't change the meaning. The problem is that "If you don't" is a condition, but "there is" is a declaration. It should be a consequent, which in English takes the future tense. "If you drink this, you feel better." is wrong, it should be "If you drink this, you will feel better". And I feel the same mismatch from using いる after なければ 。I realize that it's difficult to express an appropriate future form of いる、so I'll go with 実在してしまう。 –  Paul Richter Jan 31 '12 at 6:24
The future tense you are looking for is not on いる it is on 出会えない. That is why, translated, it gives "There is a you that you will never meet". I take your drinking example: "if you don't say goodbye to now, you will never meet the other yourself (who exists)." –  oldergod Jan 31 '12 at 6:36
Ah, now I think I understand what you are getting at. Yes, oldergod is right. The placing of the comma in the Japanese text is misleading. If I had to put it somewhere, I'd put it after あなたが. The whole phrase "いまとサヨナラしなければ出会えない" is a predicate to あなた. There's a you, whom in order to meet you have to say goodbye to the present. –  dainichi Jan 31 '12 at 6:55
The sentence is broken into two lines so there is little doubt about the intention of the comma. Without any comma, it could easily be interpreted as "There's a you...", but that comma! –  Paul Richter Jan 31 '12 at 14:45
The sentence being broken into two lines isn't relevant -- it isn't that way on Doda's home page -- and the punctuation isn't a big deal either. Commas in Japanese can be placed much more freely than in English. I think dainichi's interpretation is fine. –  Matt Feb 1 '12 at 4:40

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