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私は学校へわずかに二ヶ月しか行っていません。 Translation was:

  1. I only went to school for barely 2 months.

My understanding of the sentence was: 2)[I don't/didn't go to school for barely 2 months only].

Why would 1) be correct and 2) wrong?

3)If the sentnece were: 私は学校へわずかに二ヶ月しか行っていません。would the translation be [I don't/didn't go to school for barely 2 months only.] or would it keep being [I only went to school for barely 2 months]

My second question is: What are the cases when 行っていません expresses the past rather than the present?

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Not わずかに, but しか does get a negative verb at the end while maintaining a positive meaning.

There is a pattern: しか+ないverb meaning "only something" (positive sentence). eg:

この学校で田中さんしか知らないです。- I only know Tanaka-san in this school.

朝ごはんは、トーストしか食べなかったんですよ。- I only had a toast for breakfast. For further reference.

So if we breakdown the sentence

私は学校へわずかに二ヶ月しか行っていません

学校へ is taking the verb 行っていません, but since it is inside the aforeamentioned "しかない pattern", it becomes only go / only went. わずかに purpose here is to only serve as an adverb for the verb 行く. Therefore:

I only went to school for barely two months.

3 - Yes, it would mean something like "I did not go to school for barely two months" / "I haven't been to school for barely two months"

About your forth second question: It can mean that when you haven't done something in the past, but it is always in the negative tense, and you gotta be careful to not mistake it with ことはない pattern.

I made the same question some years ago, and the answer was something like this:

見てない also has the meaning "Someone doesn't(has not) see(seen) something ", but the nuance of "ever" is less. See the full answer.

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  • You are suggesting that by omitting the いfrom the 行っていません, it becomes 行ってません, which reduces the nuance of "ever". So my sentence must be 私は学校へわずかに二ヶ月しか行ってません。and not 私は学校へわずかに二ヶ月しか行って(い)ません。 right?
    – raruna
    Jul 29 '20 at 14:47
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    @raruna not really the case, in the linked question I just used a more casual form, it has no connection to meaning whatsoever. 行ってない、行っていない、行ってません、行っていません will all mean the same with some differences in politeness and depending if you are speaking the language or writing it. Jul 30 '20 at 1:04
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    Thank you for the clarification.
    – raruna
    Jul 30 '20 at 15:05

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