I'm having some issues translating the first part (bolded) of this metaphor/saying(?) into English.

世に孵ることを拒む卵はなく、 芽吹くことを拒む種子もあり得ない.

How does the verb 孵る work on the こと part of the sentence, and does the full sentence end in the adjectival phrase "あり得ない" or does it end with a nai-form "得"?

The two possible translations I have at the moment are:

In life to hatch out is a circumstance that to prevent the infant’s cries, is impossible as the seed denys its circumstances to bud.


In society to hatch out is an occurrence that to prevent the infant’s cries, is as impossible as the seed rejecting its circumstances to bud.

  • 4
    Where are you seeing the part about the infant's cries?
    – mamster
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 23:03
  • @mamster the "infant" I got from the kanji 卵, which can mean "infancy", "origin", "beginning", "egg", and "expert (in the making)". The "cries" I got from the "なく" in the bolded part, although according to the Japanese-English dictionary, なく can also be translated as "to howl, to cry, to weep, to sob, to sing (bird)," etc. I honestly doubt my own translation for that part though, so any help or corrections would be much appreciated.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 0:34
  • 5
    For some reason, you are "seeing" so many things that are just not said in the original sentence. The structure of that sentence is actually VERY simple.
    – user4032
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 1:03
  • @l'électeur Then may you please help me "see" the simplicity of the sentence structure, as you are correct in that I am seeing too many things when it comes to this sentence.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 1:12
  • All the usages of naku you listed above are almost always written in Kanji. Commented Apr 9, 2019 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


Let me break it down to smaller chunks...

世に孵ることを拒む refuse to hatch into this world (← relative clause that modifies 卵)
卵 egg
は (topic particle)
なく don't exist (← continuative form of ない(無い))
芽吹くことを拒む refuse to germinate (← relative clause that modifies 種子)
種子 seed
も either
あり得ない can not exist

To put them back together, I think it means something like...


"There are no eggs that refuse to hatch into this world, and there cannot be seeds that refuse to sprout out, either."

  • Quick question: how do you know that 世に孵ることを拒む is a relative clause? ( Is it because it is before the egg, which in turn is before the topic particle?) (Its been ages since I've taken a class that delt with "relative clauses" and "sub-something-that-I-can't-remember clauses"... I need to go and do a refresh in basic grammer, haha.
    – Toyu_Frey
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 16:59
  • 5
    It's simply because it's a short-form verb that directly precedes a noun.
    – mamster
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 23:35

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