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For this sentence, how does past tense apply with noun clauses

Mr Suzuki was writer who wanted to live near the forest

Do I say

鈴木さんは森林の近くに住みたい作家でした。

or

鈴木さんは森林の近くに住みたかった作家でした。

1 Answer 1

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This is how I would parse it: focus on the tense of the modifying clause.

森林の近くに住みた。 (present state)

Mr. Suzuki wants to live near the forest.

森林の近くに住みたかった。(past state)

Mr. Suzuki wanted to live near the forest.

Hence, we have the following:

A) 鈴木さんは森林の近くに住みたい作家でした。

a) Mr. Suzuki was a writer who wanted to live near the forest.

B) 鈴木さんは森林の近くに住みたかった作家でした。

b) Mr. Suzuki was a writer who had wanted to live near the forest.

However, if the order of events is clear from the context, we can reduce had wanted to wanted in the translation. That is, a may be equal to b in meaning, but not in this case. In other words, we could translate B using a although it offers less information if no context is provided.

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