I came across the sentence:


I would have thought that this would mean "Teacher, there's something I want to ask you, but ..." (が indicating an unfinished sentence), but the English translation is simply put as

"Teacher, there's something I want to ask you."

Is this just something missing from the translation or does ~が here have a different meaning?

1 Answer 1


が is used in this way fairly often to act as a 'softener' by implying something like "there's something I want to ask, but I don't know if it's okay/you're busy/etc". It's just a way of making your question less impressing/more polite.

I suppose the reason why it's not often translated into English is that it doesn't really carry the meaning of "but" explicitly, it's just a way of making the request softer. If you translated it with the "but" in an English sentence I wouldn't think it was because the person is just trying to be polite, but they actually have some real reservations about asking that question.

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