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I would translate this sentence

日本の昔話は代表的なものだけで、2,3百はあります。

as "Japanese folktales has about 200, 300 as only representative of it". My question is does で after だけ mean that the noun before it acts as a tool for the proceding sentence?

My translation is awkward but I think that that's what the sentence mean. Is my translation correct? Or is there a better way to translate it and what is that better way? Also how do I factor "de" in translating this sentence?

1 Answer 1

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Your translation does seem awkward to me, so let's check what it means first:

  • 日本の昔話は二、三百あります。
    There are 200 to 300 Japanese folktales.
  • 日本の昔話は二、三百あります。
    There are at least 200 or 300 Japanese folktales.
  • 日本の昔話は代表的なものだけで二、三百はあります。
    Counting only the major ones, there are at least 200 or 300 Japanese folktales.

The particle で after 代表的なものだけ is a scope/condition marker rather than a method marker. It marks the condition for the following expression to hold true. Similar examples include:

  • 合計で30人います。
    There are 30 people in total.
  • 最大で3万円かかります。
    It will cost up to 30,000 yen.
  • 追加で50個注文しました。
    I ordered additional 50 units.
  • 今日だけで単語を100個覚えました。
    Today alone, I learned 100 words.
  • ある意味で興味深い。
    It's interesting in one sense.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all English expression that corresponds to this type of で, so you'll need to get used to them individually.

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  • 1
    Didn't know that は with numbers meant "at least". Are you able to use も as well (and what does it mean)?
    – firuvi
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 11:21
  • 1
    @firuvi See this. You can use も but the meaning would be changed. "二、三百もある" means "there are as many as 200-300 folktales".
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 13:04
  • @RommelBagasina it's redundant, but mentally adding a の中{なか} before this scope で can help to interiorize its meaning: 日本の昔話は代表的なものだけの中{なか}で二、三百はあります。
    – jarmanso7
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 10:01

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