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In the second volume of 君死にたもう流星群 I found this sentence:

理由は分かるようで分からなかった

The character is confused by the events, and as far as I understand he is saying he doesn't understand why a friend of his is leaving school, and another one shut him out, but I can't understand the form 分かるようで分からなかった. Why isn't it just 理由は分からなかった? What does "分かるようで" add?

I tried looking online and in my grammar books, but I didn't find any meaning that seems fit to this case, just the usual "seeming".

1 Answer 1

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You're right about it translating to just "seems like". You could probably translate it as

理由は分かるようで分からなかった
I feel like I'm starting to understand the reason, but I don't.

It gives the nuance that you are beginning understand, but you need another push over the edge. On the other hand, 「理由はわからなかった」 just means "I don't understand the reason", and implies that the speaker is completely unaware.


分かる+よう (seems like)+で (conjunction)+分からない

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