I came across a paragraph on s.c. 距離感覚, the overall meaning of which is eluding me:


What does 奴から席を開ける mean here?

If 席を開ける were to mean "to open a seat / to make a seat vacant", and if 奴 were the agent, why isn't 開ける followed by passive られる auxiliary (開けられる)? More so, "to move away unconsciously" (無意識のうちに間合いを取る) wouldn't make sense this way. From 無意識のうちに間合いを取る, 席を開ける would be expected to mean the opposite, for "seat to be taken", but that just doesn't fit with any of the meanings of 開ける I could find in dictionaries so far.

In other words, I'm looking for some help on what's going on in:


Thank you for your patience.

  • 1
    Side-note: 席を「空け」て is the preferred kanji in this case. These kind of fluctuations sometimes occur, probably unintentionally (especially when they are typed using computers). 開ける is usually used for "to open", 空ける for "to make sth vacant", although I can't say 席を開ける is incorrect (広辞苑 has only one article for 空ける・開ける・明ける altogether : they are the same word).
    – Yosh
    Jun 24, 2015 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


Hope the following helps.

隣の奴から 一つ二つは 席を開けて by letting one or two seats between oneself and the nearby bloke unoccupied

無意識のうちに 間合いを取る unconciously secure a neutral zone (Caveat: this is not a verbatim translation.)

  • Ah, so I confused te-form of manner and te-form of causation. I see, this makes sense now. On top of that, から here is that of distance and not of agency. Thank you, this answers it.
    – user10429
    Jun 23, 2015 at 14:09

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