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Taken from the manga 暗殺教室.

暗殺【あんさつ】は勉強【べんきょう】の妨【さまた】げにならない時【とき】にと言【い】ったはずです

My best guess for this sentence would be:

I'm sure there has been a time I've told you that assassinations shouldn't get in the way of your studies

I'm mostly relating 時に here to 'has been a time' here, but what throws me off is the と after it so would it be included in what he had said before? And the translation just feels a bit weird in general. I'm mostly trying to think of the difference between this sentence and 暗殺は勉強の妨げにならないと言ったはずです with the 時に.

I'm sure i've told you that assassinations shouldn't get in the way of your studies

Is that right?

1 Answer 1

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Your second translation is in deed far better than your first, but it is still missing something.

The 「と」 in 「~~と言った」 must certainly be quotative, right? It is if it directly precedes 「言う」.

When you see or think you are seeing a quotative 「と」 , try putting in imaginary quotation marks the part of the sentence that looks like it is being quoted.

You will have:

『暗殺は勉強の妨げにならない時に』と言ったはずです。

Now, take a close look at the quoted phrase above. To me, 『暗殺は勉強の妨げにならない時に!』 makes perfect sense without any alterations as I am a Japanese-speaker, but does it to you? More specifically, does that part look like a complete sentence to you?

If not, what you might need to do is to fill in the "missing" or "implied" words. That is a big part of Japanese study to begin with.

『暗殺は勉強の妨げにならない時に!』 What is missing from this? The main verb is! It is the verb to go with 「暗殺は」.

『暗殺は勉強の妨げにならない時に!』 ≒

『暗殺は勉強の妨げにならない時にしろ/せよ/しなさい/やれ!』

Make sense?

It should be clear now that the original sentence means:

"I am sure that I have told you to commit assassinations (only) when it does not get in the way of your studies."

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