I'm an N5 learner trying to understand how to translate the super simple sentence


I understand an idiomatic-to-English way to translate it is:

I don't know if there is time.

But how is this more literally translated?

Attempt: Breaking it into pieces, it looks like:

(Time ga) (is ka) (doesn't comprehend).

The "time" is the subject (が) and "is" is being put into a state of uncertainty (か). So is it fair to say that a more literal-to-Japanese translation is

"Time doesn't know if it exists."


1 Answer 1



You are parsing it incorrectly. Here the subject is omitted, but if restored it should be the speaker themself. 時間があるか is what's known as an embedded question. For more on embedded questions, please see this canonical answer.


And then you can do the breakdown of 時間があるか as you do in the question

  • 時間があるか -> 時間/が/ある/か (whether there's time)

And put it back with 私は...分かりません, you get: I don't know whether there's time. And by the way the sentence can be written like this with a slight shift in tone and emphasis


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