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I came across this piece of sentence in a jlpt n2 practice book.

"一度はあきらめたが、まだ可能性はあるような気がしてならなかったので、もう一度やってみることにした"

Which translates as this "Though I had initially given up, I still felt there was a chance so I decided to go ahead and give it another try"

I can't seem to understand why is ならない used nor its function in this particular sentence. "一度はあきらめたが、まだ可能性はあるような気がしたので、もう一度やってみることにした" should have the same meaning right?

marked as duplicate by Chocolate grammar Feb 14 '18 at 0:34

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I don't think your revision means the same thing as what's being conveyed in the original example, though the general gist is the same.

一度はあきらめたが、まだ可能性はあるような気がしたので、もう一度やってみることにした
I had given up once before, but I felt that there might still be a possibility, so I decided to give it another try.

However, the original example reads more like this to me:

一度はあきらめたが、まだ可能性はあるような気がしてならなかったので、もう一度やってみることにした
I had given up once before, but I felt like there must still be a possibility, so I decided to give it another try.

Substituting the 気がした for 気がしてならなかった in this case gives off the implication that the belief towards assurance that there is a way is leaning on the side of believing in the possibility rather than simply stating that there might just be one, much like in English you'd say "I think it's possible" versus "It must be possible."

I might not be explaining in the best way possible, but that's my understanding of it.

  • Thanks for your answer. But isn't "~てならない" supposed to mean "must not"? – Nagi Feb 13 '18 at 23:04
  • @Nagi this is a tricky concept (and it's the reason why it's in N2 and not earlier). ~てならない in this case takes a non-negative meaning to augment the verb that precedes it. – psosuna Feb 13 '18 at 23:08
  • I see, thank you a lot! Edit: Is this similar to ”~てたまらない”? – Nagi Feb 13 '18 at 23:12
  • @Nagi This answerer from okwave.jp suggests understanding 気がしてならない as 気がしてしかたない. – kuchitsu Feb 13 '18 at 23:15
  • @Nagi I think ~てたまらない, ~てしかたない (as kuchitsu's link suggests), and ~てならない are related phrases, but aren't used in exactly the same cases, though the meaning is also similar. – psosuna Feb 13 '18 at 23:19

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