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I have been translating mini comics to practice my Japanese and I came across this sentence:

"仲間でも家族でもないそれは魅力的に映った、とても。"

What exactly do they mean? I know the meaning of the words and kanji but I can't translate it because I don't understand. I think it may mean, "neither friends (comrades) nor family, that seemed very attractive," quite literally. Can someone give me a proper translation and/or explanation of how exactly this sentence works?

ありがとうございます!

  • Context? What does the それ refer to? – Chocolate Jan 10 '18 at 4:31
  • @Chocolate That's exactly how the sentence is. Right after it they say, "友だちってなんだ?" – vira Jan 10 '18 at 4:32
  • @Chocolate It's also at the beginning of the comic, so there's nothing prior to it. – vira Jan 10 '18 at 4:34
  • The sentence literally means "That thing, which was neither friend nor family, looked very attractive." Edit Oh, okay.. so "that thing" has not revealed its identity yet.. – Chocolate Jan 10 '18 at 4:35
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    @Rohan この文だけで判断してはいけないと思います。「仲間や家族でないからこそ(煩わしくなくて)魅力的」という可能性もあるので。 – naruto Jan 10 '18 at 10:40
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If you don't know Japanese relative clauses yet, please learn them first. If you already know relative clauses, 仲間でも家族でもない is just another relative clause that modifies それ (="it"). ~でも~でもない is simply "to be neither ~ nor ~".

If it's really the very first sentence of the story, no one can understand what それ refers to at this point. Probably それ will be explained later in the story.

仲間でも家族でもないそれは魅力的に映った、とても。
It, being neither "buddy" nor "family", appeared attractive, really.

  • If ~ is a noun (and で isn't a separate particle) how does ~でも~でもない differ from ~も~もない? To clarify I understand why there is a で in バスでも車でも行けない, but not in the OPs example. – user3856370 Jan 11 '18 at 18:39

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