5

...猫の写真を見ないですむと思うと、同情しろという方が無理だった。
When he thought that he could get away without seeing any cat photos, sympathy was impossible.

In my translation I've condensed all of 同情しろという方 into just one word: sympathy. I'm struggling with how to unpack this. One problem is that I don't know whether 方 is ほう or かた. I can think of two ways this might go:

  1. 同情しろという方{かた}が無理だった - a person saying that you should be sympathetic would have been unreasonable.
  2. 同情しろという方{ほう}が無理だった - the side of him that said he should be sympathetic was impossible/unreasonable.

I think option 2. makes more sense but I'm not certain.

  • 1
    where do you see the volitional form here? – Igor Skochinsky Dec 30 '19 at 19:46
  • @IgorSkochinsky Agh! Your right. I wasn't thinking. しろ is imperative not volitional. It still leaves me confused though. – user3856370 Dec 30 '19 at 19:51
9

「猫{ねこ}の写真{しゃしん}を見{み}ないですむと思{おも}うと、同情{どうじょう}しろというが無理{むり}だった。」

First, the 「方」 is read 「ほう」.

Reading it 「かた」 would not be a possibility here as 「[Person] が無理だった」 is an unnatural-sounding phrase to begin with.

「[Verb Phrase in Imperative Form] + という方{ほう}が + [Phrase with Negative Content]」

This pattern should be remembered almost as a set phrase as it is used quite often.

It expresses one's idea/opinion that one of the two possible options/ways of doing something is more strange/unusual/unreasonable/unrecommendable, etc.

The two options here are: 1) telling one to be sympathetic and 2) telling one not to be sympathetic.

Finally, the common 'negative' phrases that are often placed right after the 「という方が」 include 「おかしい」、「変{へん}だ」、「どうかしている」, etc.

  • Can you provide a few other example sentences & translations? I can't seem to find this grammar pattern outlined anywhere else. – Hikonyan Jan 2 '20 at 2:07

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