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I have two questions about the と quotation particle. One about it's omission together with connected verbs and the other about how it operates with the で particle. I believe the bellow sentence contains an omission of と思う:

Original: 世間では警察も無能、Lも無能.

My extension: 世間では警察も無能、Lも無能と思う

The translation I have reads

"People think [society thinks] L and the police are incompetent".

I don't see how I could've gotten that from the original. The only thing I can think of is that と思う is being omitted, because I don't see how the sentence makes sense otherwise.

In addition, I'd like to know how exactly the で particle operate with the と particle here, because I don't quite understand it.

If someone could clear this up that would be great :). Thanks!

[The context is that these are police officers and the superior is talking about how "L" who is a character and the police are incompetent. The example is from episode 10 of Death Note.]

1 Answer 1

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The omitted verb is a bit different from what you have in mind:

世間では警察も無能、Lも無能と思われている
In the society, it is thought that both the police and L are incompetent.

Note that I used the passive form here. The sentence is not saying "society thinks ~" with the society as the subject. で here is a simple location marker, "in the society" (or "in the public mind").

If it were not for で, 世間 would work as the subject, so 思っている (non-passive) would be the right omitted verb:

世間は警察も無能、Lも無能と思っている
The society thinks that both the police and L are incompetent.

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  • ahhhh that makes so much sense now. 本当にありがとう! Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 11:47
  • However, can you explain the difference between が and で in this context of using the passive? Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 16:46
  • Also how does は work together with で here, given that the original sentence has both? Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 16:51
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    @DelectableTea The two sentences are almost identical in meaning. は is the topic marker and can attach to various other particles. See this.
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 1:15
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    @DelectableTea 世間では is just "In this society", with は used as the topic marker. The fact that は can attach to many particles is the key point. I used the passive form because it would be the shortest, but you may think the original sentence is short for 世間では人々が警察も無能、Lも無能と思っている。
    – naruto
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 2:30

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