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


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?

  • Context? What does the それ refer to?
    – chocolate
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 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
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 4:32
  • @Chocolate It's also at the beginning of the comic, so there's nothing prior to it.
    – vira
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 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
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 4:35
  • 2
    @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
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


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.

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. Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 18:39

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