I'm translating a children's chapter book for language practice, and came across a phrase I didn't get. The context is that these two kids find a quarter on the ground and are asking a woman on the street if she dropped it. Her response is:


I get that the もんか means like no way, definitely not, right? And that なんか usually adds emphasis. But it looks like it's in the middle of the verb, おとしている, which confused me. Also that she's using ている, when shouldn't it just be past tense if she's saying no she didn't? I'm not sure if I'm missing something obvious? Any help would be appreciated!


1 Answer 1


To answer the first part of your question: Words can come in the "middle" of verbs like this with no problem. The meaning is as expected: the なんか modifies the 落として to add emphasis to the action of dropping.

As for your second question: This is a problem in the way we teach people what ている means. Almost everyone learns it as "present progressive," but that's not what it represents. It represents a resultant state caused by an action. Sometimes this is realized in a way similar to what we would call present progressive, but in this case it doesn't really make sense; you wouldn't say. "I am dropping something." Thus 落としている has the meaning of "in the state caused by dropping something," which is "having dropped."

So the meaning of the sentence is something like, "No, of course I didn't drop it," or maybe, "As if I would ever drop it."

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