I saw this sentence in a train advertisement for a job placement agency:


I don't sense a future tense at all in the independent (latter) clause because the verb is simply いる rather than a "can" form like 〜える/〜れる/〜ける。The sentence feels disjointed as the tenses don't agree.

I feel that the following sentence expresses the same thing, but with a better match between the clauses:


Translating the original sentence literally to English as:

If you don't say goodbye to the present, there is a you that you will never meet.

sounds just as wrong because of the "is". It should be "there will be a you that you never meet".

I understand きっと to mean "certainly", but does きっといる here serve as a future tense?

EDIT: Inserted missing "you" in translation from dainichi's comment. Revised title.

  • きっと only serve as "certainly" here. You can remove it from the sentence it won't change the meaning. Don't think it as a future you but rather, an other you. So you first translation try is correct.
    – oldergod
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 2:56
  • Does 'There's a you that you will never meet unless you say goodbye to the present' sound better?
    – dainichi
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 10:34
  • 1
    I don't really see why this question should have been downvoted -- if you think the premises are mistaken, or that the questioner is trying too hard to fit Japanese into an Indo-European concept of tense or whatever, that's the sort of thing that makes a good answer, not a reason for a downvote.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


No, きっと means "certainly" here.

I don't understand what you find wrong with 'is' in your translation. Insert a 'you' before 'will' and it makes perfect sense.

  • Thanks for pointing out the missing "you". But it doesn't change the meaning. The problem is that "If you don't" is a condition, but "there is" is a declaration. It should be a consequent, which in English takes the future tense. "If you drink this, you feel better." is wrong, it should be "If you drink this, you will feel better". And I feel the same mismatch from using いる after なければ 。I realize that it's difficult to express an appropriate future form of いる、so I'll go with 実在してしまう。 Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 6:24
  • The future tense you are looking for is not on いる it is on 出会えない. That is why, translated, it gives "There is a you that you will never meet". I take your drinking example: "if you don't say goodbye to now, you will never meet the other yourself (who exists)."
    – oldergod
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 6:36
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    Ah, now I think I understand what you are getting at. Yes, oldergod is right. The placing of the comma in the Japanese text is misleading. If I had to put it somewhere, I'd put it after あなたが. The whole phrase "いまとサヨナラしなければ出会えない" is a predicate to あなた. There's a you, whom in order to meet you have to say goodbye to the present.
    – dainichi
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 6:55
  • The sentence is broken into two lines so there is little doubt about the intention of the comma. Without any comma, it could easily be interpreted as "There's a you...", but that comma! Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 14:45
  • The sentence being broken into two lines isn't relevant -- it isn't that way on Doda's home page -- and the punctuation isn't a big deal either. Commas in Japanese can be placed much more freely than in English. I think dainichi's interpretation is fine.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 4:40

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