I saw this sentence in an episode of attack on titan

もうお前が知る俺らは いねえんだぞ

the subs translated it to

The people you thought we were no longer exist

I don't understand since in this case the speaker is talking about how they used to be why not say


would it be wrong to use 知った what are the differences

  • Are you sure you copied the subs correctly? "The people you thought were no longer exist" doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Jul 16, 2022 at 10:11
  • Should be related. japanese.stackexchange.com/q/5729/45489
    – sundowner
    Jul 16, 2022 at 11:22
  • @user3856370 I don't know if it is acceptable as English, but what is meant should be literally "the people you assumed (thought) to exist do not exist any longer".
    – sundowner
    Jul 16, 2022 at 11:24
  • I forgot a we in the sentence sorry I edited it
    – k-on fan
    Jul 16, 2022 at 16:51
  • would the 知った version be wrong?
    – k-on fan
    Jul 17, 2022 at 7:48

1 Answer 1


First, do you remember "knew" normally corresponds to 知っていた in Japanese? This is because 知る is basically an instant state-change verb that means "to get to know" or "to learn". See: For 知る what is the difference between the simple present (知る) and 知っている forms?

  • 彼はその本を知っている。
    He knows that book.
  • 彼はその本を知っていた。
    He knew that book.
  • 彼が知っている本
    the book he knows
  • 彼が知っていた本
    the book he knew

Therefore, お前が知った俺ら is wrong, and you have to say お前が知っていた俺ら at least. This phrase is about お前's general understanding/knowledge about 俺ら, not a specific event where お前 got to know 俺ら.

Now, you are probably wondering why お前が知る俺ら is correct then. This is an exception. 知る somehow safely means "know(s)" in relative clauses. That is, Aが知るB and Aが知っているB are roughly the same and both means "B which/who A knows" or "B as A understands it/them". Aが知るB sounds relatively more literary and stiffer.

  • 彼が知っている歴史
    the history he knows / the history as he understands it


  • もうお前が知る俺らはいねえんだぞ。
  • もうお前が知っている俺らはいねえんだぞ。
  • もうお前が知っていた俺らはいねえんだぞ。

These three sentences all make sense, but the first two sound more natural because the problem is about お前's current understanding about 俺ら. A more literal translation is "The people you think we are no longer exist".

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