This a part of the song "Donut hole" by hachi


I asked a japanese person and they told me it's similar to あなたを傷つけるのではないだろうか. However I don't understand how it works grammatically. As far as I know the は particle cannot topicalize verbs in the TE FORM.

  • 1
    japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/24661/… - related, but I'm not entirely willing to say duplicate because of some remaining confusion
    – Angelos
    Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 23:20
  • @Angelos It is indeed the same question, but that person seems to have arbitrarily claimed that 連用形+は+しない is the same thing as て+は+しない without any further explanation. I guess I could take that for now.
    – Manab
    Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 23:29
  • 傷つけてはしないか makes no sense to me. 傷つけてはいないか does.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 0:14
  • Well, that is what is sung. It`s very clear and there are subtitles. youtube.com/watch?v=Ct_YOfxc7Hw
    – Manab
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 0:15
  • It still makes no sense. I was not suggesting it was your error.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


The sentence was probably made by two steps.

Firstly, why we use 傷つけてはいないか,not 傷つけていないか. Because ”ては” can emphasis the sentence.

Secondly, why Yonezu uses 傷つけてはしないか,not 傷つけてはいないか. This is difficult problem. Although I'm Japanese, I think this expression is a little wrong. But, I guess he wants to give us to a little weird feeling.

I translate them forcibly, あなたを傷つけていないか means ”Am I hurting you?”, あなたを傷つけてはいないか means ”Am I even hurting you?”, あなたを傷つけてはしないか means ”Do I even hurting you?”.

  • I agree with you. I also think he was trying to be a little poetic and forceful. Thank you.
    – Manab
    Commented Dec 28, 2022 at 20:59
  • I found another Vocaloid song that uses it, ラジオスターが消えたって by 皮肉骨. It has the following verse: 失ってはしないか 何かを そんな不安が 頭を喰う Commented Jan 7 at 11:07

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