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I have the following passage

携帯電話なんて持つんじゃなかった

勝手に無断外泊を続けてるのは こっちなのにメール一本くれないハチがますます勝手な女に思えてイラ立った

ただの通信手段の機械に人の絆の強さを試されたくなんかないのに

One professional translation of this passage translates the first sentence as "I should have never bought something like a mobile phone". I don't really see how this can be understood, for me it seems like it should be something like "I didn't have a mobile phone with me" (which clashes with the next sentence however).

If anyone could explain this translation for me, I would really appreciate it. Thanks for any help.

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「携帯電話{けいたいでんわ}なんて持{も}つんじゃなかった。」

The translation you found:

"I should have never bought something like a mobile phone"

is indeed good.

The most common and natural ways to say:

"should not have (Verb)ed"

are:

「(verb in dictionary form) + べき + では/じゃ + なかった」

「(verb in dictionary form) + の/ん + では/じゃ + なかった」

Needless to say, 「ん」 is more informal than 「の」 and 「じゃ」 than 「では」, respectively.

Your own attempt "I didn't have a mobile phone with me." is off. That would be the equivalent of:

「(その時)携帯電話を持っていなかった。」

  • You mean the most common way to say "shouldn't have (Verb)ed", right? – Marco May 27 '18 at 0:51
  • Right! (And thanks, @Chocolate for the edit!) – l'électeur May 27 '18 at 0:57

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