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Here is the sentence: それは改良を必要としますが、すぐにということではありません。

I can't understand this part: すぐに_Adverb + という_Particle? + こと_Noun + では_DEWA + ありません_Verb. I know that という is an expression "said; called thus", but what is it doing here and what connection does it have to the preceding adverb and other sentence parts? Is it just "すぐに_quickly という_said"?

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ということ is what you should be looking at. It turns "すぐに" (with quotation marks) into a noun. So it means something like "it needs improvements, but that's not a 'すぐに'-saying-thing". In more natural English, "it needs improvements, but that's not to say (that it needs them) very soon". –  Billy Sep 20 '12 at 17:12
    
(The etymology, of course, is と (quoting particle) + 言う (saying) + こと (thing, matter).) –  Billy Sep 20 '12 at 17:13
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

という as "said, called thus" is composed of

  • the quoting particle と
  • the verb 言う

E.g.

アルジュナという戦士はバガヴァッド・ギーターの主人公です。
The warrior (who is called) Arjuna is the protagonist of the Bhagavad Gītā.

Here the sentence アルジュナと言う modifies the noun 戦士, which is usually translated with a relative clause.

The sentence you quote is a little less straight-forward, but uses the same construction. Compare

それはすぐに改良を必要とします。
That needs some improvements straight away.

それは改良を必要としますが、すぐにということではありません。
That needs some improvements, but is not something to be done immediately.

The すぐに of the second (original) sentence refers to the immediacy of the need for improvements.

The long version would be

それは改良を必要としますが、すぐに改良を必要(とします)ということではありません。
That needs some improvements, but it is not the case that we are dealing with something, which needs improvements straight-away.

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Ok, but what connection does it have in the sentence? What verb or noun does すぐに modify? Does it modify という or では_DEWA + ありません_Verb? –  minerals Sep 20 '12 at 14:40
    
Neither, it refers to the first half of the sentence. –  Earthliŋ Sep 20 '12 at 14:51
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I think the other answers are correct. Here is another parsing of the sentence:

それは改良を必要としますが、すぐにということではありません

In natural English:

That needs improvement, but it doesn't need improvement right away.

A more literal translation:

That needs improvement, but not "right away" (improvement) .

And here is my attempt at something approaching a word for word translation, to more clearly see how the sentence is parsed:

それは改良を必要としますが、すぐにということではありません

That > improvement is needed (but), right away {to say such a thing} is not the case.

Note that ということ turns すぐに into the noun (or こと/thing) that gets negated by ではありません, or more explicitly, という makes すぐに into the こと that gets negated by ではありません.

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ということ has a number of different meanings depending on context. Here I think it has the meaning of "means", or という意味:

それは改良を必要としますが、すぐにという(こと・意味)ではありません。
That needs improvement, but that doesn't mean (that it has to be done) right away.

I think it's similar to in this example from Tatoeba:

これはあまり自分を守ろうとすると、かえって大きな間違いをおかすことになるだけだ、ということです。

This means that if you try to protect yourself too much, you will only make bigger mistakes.

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