This is from the headline of a news article in NHK News Easy.

日本の人口が減る 赤ちゃんが今まで「で」いちばん少ない

Can someone explain this one to me? Thanks!


日本の人口が減る 赤ちゃんが今まで「で」いちばん少ない

"で" in the above sentence is difined by jisho.org here as:

2. indicates time of action

My attempt for the given sentence is as follows.
The population of Japan decreases. The number of babies is the smallest up to now.


I posted the closest one in jisho.org here as an answer, but since I got a down vote, I'll correct it.

I looked で up in various dictionaries, but I couldn't find an explanation that is perfect, but I think that the next one is better.

で is a particle that indicates time range for establishing a certain fact.

The fact is "the number of babies (born over a certain period of time) is the smallest" in the given sentence.


で has many roles, but in this case it's a condition/situation/scope marker. It denotes the condition in which the modified word is applied. It's translated to various English prepositions, including "in", "among" and "under".

  • 合計で100円 100 yen in total
  • 割引で買う to buy at a discounted price
  • ~という仮定で話す to talk under assumption that ~

今まで少ない (without で) would mean "(something) has been low/scarce up until now".

  • I think the usage of the implied で can become a new question (double で). – Flonne Dec 31 '17 at 15:29

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.