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I'm watching Tanya the evil to learn some more complicated kanji and speech, and this one sentence I don't understand completely the usage of と in the sentence “つまりは勝利をめざさないと”. The translation that's given says "In other words, You wouldn't try to win?". Is と used to make a question? From what I know about the usage of と, it's used to imply something in an If/Then format.

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  • without further context, but given the translation, i would say that the unspoken part of this fragment would be something like いうつもりですか (or whatever level of politeness/informality is called for, which i’m guessing should probably be なの instead of ですか but i went with the more formal ending).
    – A.Ellett
    Oct 8, 2020 at 12:52

2 Answers 2

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つまりは勝利をめざさないと can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. つまりは「勝利をめざさない」と(言っているのか)。
    So, you are saying "I won't try to win"(, huh?)
  2. つまりは勝利をめざさないと(いけない)。
    So, you must try to win.

If 1 is correct, と is a quotative particle without an explicit corresponding verb like 言っている or 考えている. That is, と implies 勝利をめざさない is someone else's statement (in this case, "your" statement).

If 2 is correct, と is a conditional particle, and ないと means "if not" as a whole. As you probably know, Japanese negative-if's commonly mean "have to" by themselves without explicitly saying the corresponding main clause.

行かないと。
= 行かなければ。
= 行かなくては。
= 行かなくちゃ。
= I must go. / I gotta go.

I can't tell which is the correct interpretation without the context and the audio source. There is usually a small pause before と if it's 1. Either way, と is not a question particle by itself.

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  • There was a small pause before the と , So 1 is the right usage I think. Thank you :)
    – doukyuusei
    Oct 10, 2020 at 1:45
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There exists more と particles

  • and/with と
  • conditional (if) と
  • quotation particle と
  • possibly と related to to-adverbs (maybe it's related to quotation? But that's just my guess)
  • (and maybe more?)

This is a case of a quotation particle と, similarly like " quotes in English (however it only marks the ending of a quote), but と can mark both direct and indirect quote.

The speaker here is rephrasing what the other person has said/implied/conveyed (or the speaker thinks they did), this is also hinted by つまり. Whether this is a question or not will explicitly be given mostly in intonation, whether the ending is rising (a question) or not (a statement), not by a presence of と. This particle can be used for statements just as well.

This sentence is incomplete in that it is missing a main verb, which is often the case with と particle - from context we can typically infer that the speaker meant a form of 言う、 聞く、考える or similar

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  • I think that what you're suggesting is technically correct (though I'm not 100% sure), but ないと as an omissive form of ないといけない is so idiomatic and common that it's much more likely that @naruto's answer is the right guess.
    – Right leg
    Oct 8, 2020 at 22:09
  • Thank you (it's Naruto's option 1 so I think at least technically it should be). I trusted the original translator to have the context and information, but ... should have tried to think outside of that as well
    – NoxArt
    Oct 9, 2020 at 4:39

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