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背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので絶対買います!ソフトはクリスタしかありませんが。

I'd like to understand this better. The context is an artist announced that he is releasing a book about painting digital backgrounds and the above line is one of the comments made by another user. From what I can understand, the comment seems to mean:

I'm very interested about how backgrounds are painted so I'm definitely buying (the book). I only have Clip Studio Paint(クリスタ)software though.

I'm confused because from my understanding, ありません means "does not have/exist" and I'm wondering if the commenter wanted to write ソフトはクリスタしかありますが instead. And if not, I'd like to understand why it is so.

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    Related or possible duplicate: japanese.stackexchange.com/a/18865/9831 The particle しか is always followed by a negative of some sort Taken together, しか+ない means something like "only; nothing but".
    – chocolate
    Aug 20, 2017 at 13:27

3 Answers 3

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Your translation is perfect. ~しか...ない is a very common pattern to express "not ... but ~" or "only ~".

Keep in mind that しか is always used with negative expressions. ソフトはクリスタしかあります is ungrammatical. For more information, see this answer.

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    Ohh that explains everything! Thank you very much!!
    – taiga
    Aug 20, 2017 at 13:32
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This is a kind of the reversed word/phrase/clause order, 倒置法.

背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので絶対買います!ソフトはクリスタしかありませんが。

=背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので、ソフトはクリスタしかありませんが、絶対買います!

=背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので絶対買います!ソフトはクリスタしかありませんが絶対買います! (This is another interpretation, the abbreviation of the same expression coming again.)

=I will buy your software because I'm interested in your drawing technique! Although only the software, "Crysta" is available here.

=I will buy your software because I'm interested in your drawing technique, although only the software, "Crysta" is available here!

~~しかない=nothing but ~~

Using the negative form is the rule for the ~~しかない expression. ~~しかある doesn't make sense.

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  1. ソフトはクリスタしかありません
    I'm confused because from my understanding, ありません means "does not have/exist"
  1. I only have this software. (or I have only this software.)
  2. I don't have any software but this one.

I know that sentece 2 and 3 have a same meaning in English, and we call 1 an affirmative sentence and 2 a negative sentence.

The given sentece 1 is written in a negative sentence, so you got confused.

If you want to rewrite 1 into an affirmative sentence, it would become like:

4.1 ソフトはクリスタだけがあります。
4.2 ソフトはクリスタだけです。

4.2 is more commonly used than 4.1
You can use 1 and 4.2 safely, and I prefer 1 to 4.2 for the meaning of 2 or 3.

EDIT

To clarify, the line I posted was from another person who commented on the artist's/seller's book announcement post. I edited my original post to reflect this.

OP edited the original post according to my answer, so I'll delete all the following answer.

>The context is an artist announced that he is releasing a book about painting digital backgrounds...

If your explanation is correct, don't you think the following sentence is illogical, because the seller says "I'll buy it"?

>背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので絶対買います!

If I read it logically, it may imply by supplementing the omitted part like:
>背景とかってどうやって描いてるのかすごく気になってたので もしあなたが私なら 絶対買います! I'm very interested about how backgrounds are painted so, if I were you, I'm definitely buying (the book).

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  • It is just like you say "I have only this software / I only have this software" for "I don't have any software but this one" in English. Ahh I see, that makes sense! To clarify, the line I posted was from another person who commented on the artist's/seller's book announcement post. I edited my original post to reflect this. Thank you for your response!
    – taiga
    Aug 20, 2017 at 13:24

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