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人を守りながらでは刀も思い切り振れない does this imply some condition like as in "in the condition of while protecting people i cant swing the katana as much as i would like to" this is really bad and unnatural translation, but does it convey something like this?

2 Answers 2

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This ~では is like "if it's ~"; this で is not a case particle marking location/condition, but the te-form of the copula だ. This type of では is interchangeable with だと.

  • 彼女では無理だ。
    = 彼女だと無理だ。
    If it's her (who tries it), it's impossible.
  • この本では簡単すぎる。
    = この本だと簡単すぎる。
    If it's this book (that I have to use), it's too elementary (and I cannot get enough information).

You can use the same では after a particle (remember particles work somewhat like a no-adjective in Japanese):

  • ここからでは見えない。
    = ここからだと見えない。
    (If it's seen) from here, it's invisible.
  • 彼とでは失敗しそうだ。
    = 彼とだと失敗しそうだ。
    (If it's done) with him, I'll probably fail.
  • 1人ででは難しい。
    = 1人でだと難しい。
    (If it's done) alone, it's difficult.
    (でで is not a typo)
  • 人を守りながらでは刀も思い切り振れない。
    = 人を守りながらだと刀も思い切り振れない。
    I can't even swing a sword casually (if it's done) while protecting someone.

As you can see, this type of では is usually used with an expression claiming something is inappropriate or impossible. なら or だったら is used if the following part is affirmative (e.g., あなたと2人でなら問題ない "It's okay if I do it together with you", 教科書を見ながらだったらできます "I can do it if I do it while seeing a textbook").

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  • is sentence like "someoneではわからない" the same thing? like it can be rewritten to "someoneだとわからない"? like "if its someone, dont understand"? in other words "someone doesnt understand (something)? or is it just something different?
    – sieman
    Jan 12, 2023 at 15:48
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    @sieman It's the same では, and I think I said so clearly in my answer.
    – naruto
    Jan 12, 2023 at 23:11
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Your interpretation is correct.

A monolingual dictionary has the following entry for ては.

4 その条件のもとでは必ず、または常に同じ結果になる場合の、その条件を示す。「慢心してい―勝てない」「せい―事を仕損じる」「遊んではよい成果が得られない」

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  • その辞書の "ては/では" は接続助詞のテ (動詞に直結する、いわゆる te-form のテ) にハが付く場合の解説です。質問の "では" は "だと" と置換可能ですので、断定の助動詞のダの連用形のデにハが接続したものであり、こちらに該当するのではないかと思います。
    – naruto
    Jan 5, 2023 at 7:43

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