I am attempting to practice my writing and I'm having a difficult time when it comes to the situation I'm trying to describe.

Original Sentence:

I have seen coworkers fix work done by others in order to make it presentable to a boss.

My translation to Japanese:


My question is not really about the translation of the sentence itself, but more about how should / how are relative clauses structured. In general I understand relative clauses, but when a sentence starts to get complex I get a be bit lost.

I would not be surprised if when my Japanese translation got translated back into English the meaning would be very different or not what I intended. Something like: I have seen coworkers fix work in order for others to make it presentable so a boss could fix problems

When working with relative clauses I always see them as being "chained"

For example you have:

[Phrase 1][Phrase 2][Phrase 3][Phrase N-1]...[Phrase N]

Phrase N gives more information to Phrase N-1 and so on and so forth

Is this way of thinking correct? Also how does a added は effect this chain? I want to believe the last verb used in the [Phrase N-1]...[Phrase N] sentence is what the object marked by は is going to do/is doing, but I am not sure

1 Answer 1


First, you want to state what was said, witnessed, or done toward the beginning of the phrase, then the fact that it was said, witnessed, or done at the end.

Second, who it was done for (the boss) should be placed toward the beginning as well.

Third, the purpose for doing performing an action should be shown before listing the resulting action that was taken.

[I have seen] [coworkers fix work done by others] [in order to make it presentable] [to a boss].

Should be reordered as shown below:

[To a boss] [in order to make it presentable] [coworkers fix work done by others] [I have seen].

While in English we tend to place the most relevant verb at the beginning of the sentence, in Japanese this would be placed at the end. Following are a few example sentences with the English version showing placement of the verb at the beginning versus Japanese showing relevant verb placement at the end.

I did not buy the thing because it was expensive. 高いから買うのをやめた

I said that (he) should not buy the thing because it was expensive. 高いから買うのはやめた方がいいと僕は言った

Despite the thing being expensive, I witnessed him purchase it. 高いけど、彼が買うのを見た

To use your vocabulary as much as possible, while substituting ‘report’ for ‘work’, I would phrase the translation in the following order:


or another possible phrasing:


I have taken liberty with changing the 'work done by others' part to 'presenter (of the report)', as it sounds clearer and less wordy in my mind.

  • @Chocolate I have edited the answer as suggested. Thanks for the comments. 3行のところ、引用ではないので直して頂ければ幸いに存じます。
    – BJCUAI
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 1:04
  • 頂ければ幸いに存じます <-- そんなかしこまらんでも・・笑
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 2:47
  • Thank you for this explanation! This actually really helps me out. I keep thinking I have to have は at the beginning of the sentence too. Dumb question, I know that you cannot use は in a relative clause, so what actually makes a 'relative clause' a relative clause? Is it information that is 'relative' to the thing/object marked by は (the topic)? Commented Aug 1, 2018 at 13:10

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