I've been struggling with the possessive and the statement of existence in the following phrase:


The easy part is "I am until now"...but then I get stuck on 「の私ではない」. By itself, I understand「ではない」to mean "am not," but then「の私」throws me: "of me"?

How off-base is the following interpretation?

I haven't been myself until now

2 Answers 2



私は - I

今までの私 - The person I used to be (until now/just recently)

ではない - am not

Roughly translated

I am not the person I used to be.

Side note

For parsing sentences, a useful tool is putting a comma after particles like は and seeing how the ideas organize out.

  • Yes! This makes perfect sense. I didn't consider that 「今までの私」can be construed as its own lexical unit. The comma-after-particle trick is actually very helpful. Thank you. :)
    – mig81
    May 30, 2018 at 18:34

I think here is a nominalizer, converting 今まで (until now) into a noun phrase which then modifies the second , resulting in 今までの私 ("me until now", i.e. "the person I used to be").

Combining it with the first 私は and last ではない, we get:

I'm not the person I used to be.

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