I have a problem understanding the semantic of で in the following example.


My loose translation would be

I already gave up on the diet after 3 days.

And a more precise one

As for the diet, I regrettably stopped it after 3 days.

From my understanding, で is used to say "after". But で usually marks the method by which an action occurs.

So, is my translation "after 3 days" correct? Can you name a more precise translation for the example? And what is the semantic of で in respect to this example?

Thanks in advance!


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Your translation sounds nice and correct. 仕舞った(しまった) sounds a regrettable nuance so the second one is also done well.

Other than marking the method, で may appear next to a duration when you do something in the (limited) duration.

A「夏休{なつやす}みの宿題{しゅくだい}を[3日]{みっか}で[終]{お}わらせたよ。」 (I finished the homework of the summer holidays in 3 days.)

B「[3日]{みっか}で!?」 (Only 3 days!?)

A「[手伝]{てつだ}ってくれない?[5分]{ごふん}でいいから」(Could you help me? It'll take only 5 minutes.)

B「[忙]{いそが}しいけど[5分]{ごふん}ならいいよ。」(I'm busy now but, okay, only 5 minutes.)

  • 終わらせた sounds wrong to me here. Like "I made the homework finish (itself)".
    – istrasci
    Oct 6 '21 at 15:36
  • I’m not sure if the で in the last dialog is the same. That 5分 could be replaced with something that is not a duration, such as 明日.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 6 '21 at 16:55
  • 1
    @istrasci - 終わらせた is correct. It works the same way as 済ませた. It’s kind of like saying “got it done” in that the verb takes what is finished as a direct object.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 7 '21 at 2:03

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