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I am a little bit nonplussed about the meaning of a certain sentence in Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's "藪の中" where the robber is telling his version of the events. The sentence is:

わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、これほど都合の良い場所はありません.

I understand this as:
"To the extent (これほど) of carrying out/doing (しとげるのに) my deed わたしの仕事を, this place (場所) is not (ありません) suitable (都合の良い)".

However, the translation, which I have in the book of "Breaking into Japanese Literature" by Giles Murray this sentence is translated as:

"It was the ideal spot for me to do the business."

Frankly speaking, from the overall context, Giles Murray's translation makes much more sense than my interpretation, however, I don't see where I'm going wrong in the sentence. I could comprehend something where it would be comparing this place to other places and stating that other places don't suit as well as this one, but I don't detect any "pointers" here that would give at least a slight hint toward the meaning of Giles Murray.

Is it probably a literal error, as it should be あります instead of ありません?

Thanks for your help!

marked as duplicate by broccoli forest, macraf, Community Feb 19 '17 at 16:58

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「わたしの仕事をしとげるのには,これほど都合の良い場所はありません。」could be derived the following way.

1) わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、ここが最も都合の良い場所です。

2) わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、ここ以上に都合の良い場所は、他{ほか}にはない(ありません)。  

3) わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、ここほど都合の良い場所は、他にはありません。

※ 此処{ここ=here}=この場所(this plase)=これ(this)  

4) わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、これほど都合の良い場所は、他にはありません。  

5) わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、これほど都合の良い場所はありません。  

「これほど都合の良い」is almost a common phraae, so 「これ」in the sentence can naturally indicate 「この場所.」

これほど都合の良い機会はない。I'v never have a convenient opportunity than ever.

The word「これほど」is also used variou ways.

これほどの美人{びじん}には会{あ}ったことがない。I've never met such a beautiful lady. 「これほど=この人ほど」

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Is it probably a literal error, as it should be あります instead of ありません?

No, it's not an error.

To the extent (これほど) of carrying out/doing (しとげるのに) my deed わたしの仕事を, this place (場所) is not (ありません) suitable (都合の良い)".

I'm afraid you're not parsing it correctly. これほど ("as this") adverbially modifies 都合の良い ("suitable"), meaning "so suitable as this".
ありません here is the negative form of the verb ある, meaning "doesn't exist". (It is not ではありません which is the negative form of the copula です.)

[Noun phrase1]ほど[Adjectival phrase]+[Noun phrase2]はありません。
= "There is no [Noun phrase2] so [Adjectival phrase] as [Noun phrase1]."

Example:

「チョコレートほどおいしいものはありません。」
There is nothing so delicious as chocolate. / Nothing is so delicious as chocolate.

So your sentence is literally saying:

わたしの仕事をしとげるのには、
For accomplishing my work,

これほど都合の良い場所はありません。
there is no place so suitable as this.

Hence the translation "It was the ideal spot for me to do the business."

  • Thanks a lot, I missed the difference between the negative copula and and the negated verb as well as the adverbial modification of 都合の良い by これほど! – Quit007 Feb 19 '17 at 12:58

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