3

「持てる力をふりしぼる。」

Does it mean "to be possesed" (just from 持てる) or "to can have" (potential, from 持つ)? The context doesn't help, they're both fine to me.

1
  • Please, even if the context doesn't help you, it will definitely help other people.
    – Riolku
    Feb 8, 2022 at 2:18

1 Answer 1

6

This 持てる is a set phrase from classical Japanese which corresponds to 持っている in modern Japanese ("perfective form" of 持つ, used attributively, i.e., "which one has gained" or "who has gained [things]"). There is no potential sense.

持てる力をふりしぼる
= 持っている力をふりしぼる

to use up all one's strength

Grammatically, it's the realis form (已然形) of 持つ followed by the attributive form (連体形) of , an auxiliary in classical Japanese.

Practically speaking, you can forget the classical grammar and just remember this as a fixed (or "fossil") rentaishi that appears almost exclusively in the following patterns:

  • 持てる力, 持てる知識, 持てる能力, 持てる財産, ...
    (all) one's ~; all ~ one has
  • 持てる者, 持てる人, 持てる貴族, ...
    haves (as in "haves and have-nots"); wealthy/gifted ~

These correspond to the fourth and fifth definitions here.

See also: The meaning of モテる

3
  • モテモテ is also derived from 持てる? Feb 8, 2022 at 14:06
  • 1
    @MoneyOrientedProgrammer モテモテ is from another もてる described in this answer.
    – naruto
    Feb 8, 2022 at 16:20
  • @rjh No, that's just the potential form of 持つ. It's nothing more than "can have".
    – naruto
    Jul 21, 2023 at 1:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .