0

I was reading a story when I found this sentence:

「そしてその後部座席は水に冷たく濡れていたのである。」

Why did the author use the adverb 冷たく? When I translate can I just skip it?

2

Simply put, you shouldn't skip descriptive words like adverbs and adjectives. Adverbs, like this one you're asking about add to the atmosphere and environment in the story much like how adverbs and adjectives add detail to a story in English. They're crucial in fully understanding what happened, as well as why people do what they do.

冷たく is the adverb form of 冷たいwhich was formed by replacing the い with a く。 If you clicked on the link for 冷たい、you found that it meant cold, chilly, icy, or freezing. The second definition (coldhearted, unfeeling) doesn't really work here.

冷たく is modifying the verb 濡れる、which was conjugated to 濡れていた、or translated to English "(something) was wet." Put together, 冷たく濡れていた means that "(something) was cold and wet."

By now, you probably know that the (something) that I referred to in the last paragraph is the 後部座席{こうぶざせき} (back seat), so without further ado, lets translate that sentence.

そしてその後部座席は水に冷たく濡れていたのである。

Then the back seat became cold and wet from the water.

So can you skip the adverb in translation? Sure, but you miss information. I don't know the context of the sentences before this particular sentence, so I am going to assume that they drove off a bridge into a body of water (river, 瀬戸内海、etc.) What if the passengers were so cold that they could not move, and ended up drowning? What if the desperation of the passengers was dramatically increased because of the cold water? If you don't explain that the seats were cold as well as wet, you could miss out on why the passengers reacted the way they did. I highly recommend that you avoid skipping translation on adverbs. They are just as important in English as they are in Japanese.

Hope it helps.

2

The story was a horror story, and the sentence was a punch line, wasn't it. Japanese people feel chilly when listening to horror stories, and to emphasize it, the author used 冷たい (chilly or cold; adverb form 冷たく) in the line, I think.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.