T and L have been thrown back to past. T has had his hometown ruined in the past (this is not brought up during the conversation explicitly) so L asks should they stop by it. T is for a moment unsure then this excahnge happens

T: でもどうかな。過去の出来事を知ったり干渉したりして、未来が変わっちゃったりしたら嫌だし。

L: そうなの…? 過去を変えちゃうと、未来って変わっちゃうの

T: いや、そりゃそうでしょ。俺とLが会えなくなっちゃったりとかさ。

The following is my a bit rough translation as of now.

T:But I don’t know. Because I’d hate it if future changed due to our knowing about past events or meddling in them.

L: Is that so? If you changed the past would future change?

T: No, I’m sure of it. Among other things, you and me wouldn’t have met.

I have two issues here. One is minor and other more major. First one is that I'm not sure, but I'm assuming that して in first line is probably meant to be a kind of soft if. Past events are known of and/or meddled in which then might cause changes in future. I'm not entirely sure if I'm right there.

The more major problem comes in the next line. It's the 未来って変わっちゃうの? bit. I'm not sure what's って supposed to convey. It's usually some kind of quote or like, buuut...

Wait. An idea strikes me right now. Is that って a way to refer to the previous line, and it in turn means more that future that changed would be unpleasant. Basically it's a way to express

Would the (unpleasant) (changed) future you spoke of change?

Hmm. That's still not entirely right. I'm definitely not seeing something right.

So what do you think of this conundrum of mine?

  • 2
    In two questions in a row, you are calling the non-quotative って "quotative".
    – user4032
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


First, in regards to the して and it being a "soft if". Let's consider a very direct translation of this:


I would hate it if we knew about/meddled in the past and it changed the future.

Note there is only one "if". The して here represents a sequence of events, with the conditional being applied to that entire sequence. Think of it as


Now, you may be looking for a conditional because the second action is a direct consequence of the first. Realistically though, we represent consequences as part of sequences of events all the time in both languages. Consider:


I often sleep in and end up late in the mornings.

In both the English and Japanese versions of this sentence there is no "if", but it's pretty obvious that the second thing is a consequence of the first even without one.

In regards to the って, it's not any kind of quote. It can certainly be used for quotes, but I think you're underestimating how versatile って is. I'm not going to try and list every possible usage (because there are a lot of them, including many as part of set phrases), but most relevantly it can replace は.


Realistically I think most people would use here instead of for 未来も変わっちゃう, but the point I want to make is that って is taking this place. Jisho also gives a lengthy list of possible meanings, although most of them are too vague to be super useful.

  • Soo, according to you that line is just: "If you changed the past the future would change (too)?" That doesn't excatly sound like something one might reply to with "No, it will be like that". Commented May 20, 2018 at 23:32
  • 1
    I can't comment on the quality of the writing, though direct translations nearly always sound awkward. It seems reasonable to me that if someone asked "Really? Changing the past will change the future too?" the other person might respond "Yeah, obviously right? We might not've been able to meet or something." More importantly, I don't see any other reasonable interpretations of this "って".
    – Mindful
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 23:47
  • Isn't って short for という? I've also read somewhere that it tends to "swallow" other particles, so it may as well be short for というのは and some similar things. It's difficult to directly translate but I've always understood って tends to be used to mark the thing that is being defined/spoken of. If you think about it, all the entries on Jisho.org for って fall in that category...?
    – Arie
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 9:01
  • @Arie It doesn't necessarily indicates what has appeared just before. When you set a new topic, you use rather って than は.
    – user4092
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 4:40
  • @user4092 that's interesting. In what kinds of situations would you use って instead of は? Casual conversation? Can you maybe give an example of って indicating something other than what appeared before it?
    – Arie
    Commented May 22, 2018 at 5:59

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