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I'm trying to translate the following sentence from a book and I'm confused by its construction.

牛乳を飲み終わった人から、紙パックを自分の番号のケースに戻して席に着くように。

Which I assume would mean "When people finish drinking their milk, they usually put back the card box in their own case." A bit confusing already but this is the best I can manage, might already be wrong though.

However my biggest problem right now is making sense of 着くように in this sentence. I understand that ように means in order to or as if but I fail to see how it could connect to 着く and the rest of the sentence. Could it mean something like "[the narrator] went as if putting back their box like people usually do when they're done drinking their milk" or am I completely off track here?

Help would be appreciated thank you!

PS: If you're wondering, this is the very first sentence of a book called 告白 by 湊かなえ and I have no idea what it's actually about.

  • 度に着くように >> should be「 に着くように。」 – Chocolate Mar 21 '17 at 12:31
  • Oh you're right I misread that! – Xunkar Mar 21 '17 at 12:48
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In this context,

「着{つ}くように」=「着くようにしなさい」

In other words, this whole sentence is an imperative , which is why your translation "When people finish drinking their milk, they usually ~~~~" is highly inaccurate. Sorry for being blunt, but I've gotta tell the truth so you could learn something.

The ように-imperative is quite common in giving instructions, but you would need to remember that you should not use it to speak to people of higher status. In that case, 「~~ようにしてください」 or 「~~ようにお願{ねが}いします」 would be used instead.

"As you finish drinking the milk, take turns in putting back the (empty) paper packs in your (assigned) case and then, go back to your seat."

Finally, when a phrase/sentence ends in 「Verb in Dictionary Form + ように」, it can mean another thing "so that (verb phrase)".

Whether it means that or it is used as an imperative depends entirely on the context. If I said:

「神社で祈った。あの人と結婚できるように。」,

it would have to mean:

"I prayed at the shrine so that I could marry that girl."

It should not mean:

"I prayed at the shrine. Be able to marry that girl!"

  • I didn't know about this usage of ように thank you for your detailed explanation. And don't worry about being blunt, being right is more important haha. – Xunkar Mar 21 '17 at 13:19
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着くように is a shortened form of 着くようにして下さい, which can be translated as "Make sure that you xxx xxx".

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席に着く means to take a seat so this would be "When you've finished drinking your milk, put it back in your numbered case and sit down"

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