This sentence originally came from a newspaper article. Unfortunately, I copied it onto a flashcard for later study and then lost the original context.


【かれは、かのうせいに ついて 「ねんとうに まったくない」と ひていした。

What I'm confused about is the end part that says と否定した. Does it mean that he denied the statement, or that he was denying the possibility?

Which of these following translations is more correct?

  • Speaking of the possibilities, he denied saying "it's totally not on my mind."
  • Speaking of the possibilities, he denied them, saying "it's totally not on my mind."
  • 3
    I believe it's a statement of denial. If he were denying the statement it would probably be something like 〜ことを否定した — i.e. with a direct object instead of a quote.
    – Zhen Lin
    Sep 20 '11 at 9:26
  • The latter makes far more sense in English, and in common-sense terms, really. It would take quite a strange circumstance to deny saying that you weren't considering a possibility... Sep 23 '11 at 20:04
  • @Dave it's more that it's a strange thing to end up having to deny. Sep 25 '11 at 4:35

(Possibly this was the original context, and you cut it down for the flashcard? http://ch25oda.kitaguni.tv/e1678763.html )

He is denying "可能性", and 「念頭に全くない」 is quoting the phrasing he used to deny it.

You can think of it as close to:


"Regarding the possibility, he denied it, saying..."

As opposed to:


"Regarding the possiblity, he denied saying that..."

Indirect quoting is also fine:


Alternative arrangement with similar meaning:


Another example utilising a quote + associated verb, and then を否定、 since I just saw it pop up on Yomiuri:


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