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I understand this sentence as,'if you kill him, you are following him to the netherworld'.

I intuitively understand this が as conditional but I am not sure. I haven't found anything which ascertains or confirms this. But I have a strong feeling of it being a conditional. What kind of が is this and what is it called ? Also, is this some kind of polite form of たら・なら・ば ?

I've tried searching for this but I think I am missing its name or I am not searching it right. Any links relating to this would be awesome.

Thank you!

  • 2
    Searching for たが最後 or just が最後 should get you what you're looking for.
    – Leebo
    Nov 16, 2017 at 12:16
  • 1
    Related or duplicate: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/25783/9831 / japanese.stackexchange.com/q/15334/9831
    – chocolate
    Nov 16, 2017 at 14:03
  • Possible duplicate of Understanding correct choice on N1 grammar question
    – macraf
    Nov 16, 2017 at 14:55
  • @Leebo ah. Thank you! I thought and 最後 to be quite distinct. I searched them separately and because jisho.org said 最後 can mean right after in some context, I thought they did not really relate to each other except in this sentence.
    – vadasambar
    Nov 17, 2017 at 10:58
  • @Chocolate thank you for the links. The second link was easier to understand than the first. It doesn't answer my first question though. That is, what kind of が is this, which was addressed by naruto's answer. But yes, it clears a lot of things. Should I close this down as duplicate ?
    – vadasambar
    Nov 17, 2017 at 11:17

3 Answers 3


Your basic understanding of the sentence is correct. It means "Once/If you ~, (something very bad will certainly follow)."

It should be memorized as a fixed pattern, but grammatically, this 殺した is working as a noun, and が is a plain subject marker. So it can be read as "Having killed (my son) is (your) end" or "Killing is the point of no return."

In archaic Japanese, attributive form (連体形) of a verb was used instead of の/こと to nominalize a verb. You may see similar grammar in well-known traditional proverbs like 逃げるが勝ち, 聞くは一時の恥 and 袖振り合うも他生の縁. Basically ~が最後 is one of the fixed phrases using archaic grammar.

  • +1 for this It should be memorized as a fixed pattern, but grammatically, this 殺した is working as a noun, and が is a plain subject marker.
    – vadasambar
    Nov 17, 2017 at 11:06

「Verb in Past Tense + or + 最後{さいご} + Phrase」

should be remembered as a set phrase meaning

"Once/If A happens, B will also surely happen."

Thus, the line

「殺{ころ}した最後、きさまあの世{よ}いきだ!」 means:

"If you kill him, you will surely go to Heaven (as well)!" (literal TL)


"If you kill him, I will kill you, too!" (free TL)


This ~が最後 is a special use of 最後, which has the same meaning as ~たら最後.

This dictionary entry describes it as follows:

2 (「…たら最後」「…が最後」の形で)それで終わりで、あとはどうにもならない意を表す。一度…したら、それっきり。「走りだしたら最後、止まらない」「食いついたが最後、離れない」

It means that there is nothing that can be done about X, if Y has happened.

Basically, this can be translated as "As soon as X, Y". Thus, your sentence can be translated as: "However, as soon as I kill you, you will be going to the other world!"

So, it is not a mistake, it is just another version of ~たら最後.


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