I am having trouble translating the following sentence:


I can't determine whether it means:

  1. Susan feels lonely by herself.
  2. Only Susan is feeling lonely.
  3. Susan seems lonely by herself.

From my understanding of ~がっています is that it means "shows signs of~"

So the sentence in my mind should mean "Susan seems lonely by herself."

  • 1
    You are correct. #1 would not be said in Japanese (one does not outright state what others' internal state is), and #2 would be expressed using だけ or しか…ない. However, since #1 is as natural in English as #3, both are appropriate translations into English.
    – Amadan
    Aug 6, 2019 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


Let's go by exclusion.

We can pretty much exclude 2.: it implies a comparison among other people, and there is nothing here that seems to suggest that (だけ、しか。。ない, etc). Unless, maybe I should add, in this case the は is used as contrast particle, which implies that the speaker "knows" that she feels lonely by herself (but others don't).

Number 1 and 3 are pretty similar in English, and could both work in this case. 淋しがる is an intransitive verb meaning "to miss someone / to feel lonely".

The -がる construction with いーadjectives turns the word from an adjective to a verb meaning feeling like or looking like (as you say) that adjective. In this case, it just means "feeling lonely". For more about -garu, see here for example. There is actually also an example very similar to yours.

So to recap, Susan feels lonely by herself, seems the most appropriate translation to me.

However, I would like to point out also another option.

Do you know that two sentences can be connected by the "pre-masu" form of a verb? See this question for example. Well it works in the same way with です --> で.

Hence, in this case, the sentence:


could also be:

Susan is alone and (because of that) she feels lonely.

PS. I also asked a native speaker about this sentence and she said it could be both, either 1. or my last example.

  • This answer looks perfect. I also interpret it as "Susan is alone and (because of that) she feels lonely.", and option 1 in the original question is the closest to this interpretation.
    – norio
    Aug 8, 2019 at 2:48
  • @norio thanks.. still someone down-voted it for some reason..
    – Tommy
    Aug 8, 2019 at 4:09
  • Your answer couldn't be more perfect. Thank you so much.
    – Ryan
    Aug 29, 2019 at 10:19


I think you can apply the sentence #1, #2, #3. I analyze the sentence as the following

  1. (I heard) Susan feels lonely by herself.
  2. (I know) Only Susan is feeling lonely (by her complaining about her environment).
  3. (Judging from her appearance)Susan seems lonely by herself.

I think these 3 sentence describes she is showing the sign of ~.

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