In my textbook, there is the following exercise:


First, I have a bit of a problem with the subject in the first sentence here. I guess the subject of 思う in the first sentence is indefinite: "One thinks that anyone has the experience: 'When I talk in front of a lot of people, because I'm getting nervous, I can't speak skillfully'."

Second, it just seems weird to me that という is used here. The way its being used here, I'd rather expect constructions like this: 「昔ここは海だったという話を知っていますか。」 But the fact that it is coupled with this quote confuses me, especially since it is in tandem with "experience". If we are talking about the experience of thinking this in front of a crowd, then I wonder why there is this temporal clause included. You don't stand there thinking "Oh when I'm standing in front of a crowd...", you'd rather think "I can't do this!" or "I can't do this in front of a crowd" or in this case "I can't speak in front of this crowd".

To me this sentence feels like it is talking about the experience of hypothesizing about standing in front of a crowd in an internal monologue, and that is what makes it really weird for me. That's why I wanted to ask whether that's just another oddity about Japanese communication habits or if I misinterpreted something.

1 Answer 1


You're overthinking. The subject of the first sentence is "I", so it's a very simple "I think that..." or "I believe that..." pattern.

In Japanese, it's very common to use passages written in quotes where English would use an indirect quotation. Here, you can think of that entire passage as a single idea that I'll label "A" for simplicity.

The sentence therefore breaks down to:

  • だれでも「A」という経験がある
  • と(私が)思います

where だれでも is the subject of がある when translated into English, and the implicit 私が is the subject of 思う.

Once you've translated that, you can break down the A portion, which simply describes what it is that だれでも経験がある. The simplest way to start translating that part is to use the pattern "the experience of ~ing..."

See if this helps you work it out.

Note that the write/speaker is directly addressing the reader/audience here. There's no internal monologue involved.

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