I saw this phrase:


Can there be a sentence or phrase with two verbs in progressive past state?

What does this phrase mean?

Which type of nuance provides こと to the verb?

This phrase makes sense?

Given that:

描いていた is progressive past form of 描く (to draw; to paint; to sketch; to picture in one's mind; to imagine)


忘れていた is progressive past form of 忘れる (to forget)

  • 1
    Is that the entire line or a portion of a longer passage (if so, please provide the context)? Nov 23, 2020 at 4:42
  • @broccoli facemask Hi, thanks for answer. Yes. That is the entire line. Nov 23, 2020 at 11:31

1 Answer 1

In this example, 描いていた is modifying a noun phrase 忘れていたこと. That is, there are two nested relative clauses.


  • 描いてい忘れていたこと
    something I have forgotten, which I have drawn
  • 描いてい忘れていたこと
    something I have drawn and then forgotten

The former is still a bit difficult to understand without the full context, but this is the literal translation. If you're curious why I didn't use past progressive forms (e.g. "was forgetting"), please read: When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

EDIT: OP said this was the entire sentence, but actually this was a sentence fragment in a song. And OP even removed the important space between 描いていた and 忘れていた...

This is a simple example of anastrophe where the object of the verb is expressed after the verb.

描いていた 忘れていたこと

I was drawing what I had forgotten — the frozen sun and the burning compass

  • Thanks a lot. You're right, really is difficult to understand it without the context; I didn't provide it because I found this phrase in the lyrics of a song that I try to analyze and its context is so complicated to understand. This is the song: lyrical-nonsense.com/lyrics/jyocho/taiyou-to-kurashite-kita In this song, the context is so confuse for me. 😅 Nov 23, 2020 at 18:44
  • 3
    @DannyM.2020 Next time please don't hide the title. Rather than trying to explain the context, please share the link to the song. This song may be confusing to you, but to us native speakers hiding the context is much more confusing. I can read the entire lyrics in less than one minute but asking for the context takes long time.
    – naruto
    Nov 24, 2020 at 0:10

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