While reading 君死にたもう流星群 vol. 3, I found this sentence: 真理亜{まりあ}がまたビールを呷る。今日早く帰った分、明日の朝は早いということだったが、それでもアルコールを飲むペースは変わらない.

I'm trying to understand this 分 construction: I found 分 translated as "if" "in proportion to" and similar things, but I don't really understand what it implies. For example, I read that sentence as meaning "Since today she came home early, tomorrow she'll have to start in the early morning", so I'd translate 分 as "since".

Another example (with a different 分-construction): 日本の大学に行ってない分だけ、就職はきつくなる. In this case, a character is thinking about studying abroad, while the protagonist is trying to convince her to keep studying in Japan, and he says that sentence.

I'd read it as "If you don't go to a Japanese university, finding work will be hard", so I'd translate 分だけ as "if", while I found it translated as "in proportion to, just as much as", which I find odd: should I read it "The less you study in a Japanese university, the more it'll difficult to find work", since it's possible to study just a year abroad? But since she is thinking about studying abroad for the full degree, not just a year or so, it doesn't seem to fit.

I found this answer, but it isn't really helping.

What do 分 implies in cases like these? What would be different if I used から・ので・なら instead?

(Not sure if these - 分 and 分だけ - are two separate questions, if needed I can split them.)

1 Answer 1


In this context, 分 refers to the imaginary, proportional effect caused by what precedes it.

For example, 今日早く帰ったので、明日の朝は早い simply means you have to wake up early "because" you went home early today. Whereas 今日早く帰った分、明日の朝は早い means you have to wake up earlier by an amount corresponding to how early you went home today.

Similarly, 日本の大学に行ってない分だけ、就職はきつくなる specifies that things get harder by an amount caused by not going to a Japanese University (but not beyond). If you say 日本の大学に行ってないので、就職はきつくなる, it may mean things are hard on an absolute level, whereas 日本の大学に行ってない分だけ、就職はきつくなる means it is harder than if you went to a Japanese University, but it doesn't necessary mean it's "hard" in absolute terms.

A more literal usage is e.g. 半分はお前の分な (your share is half of it).

  • So 日本の大学に行ってない分だけ、就職はきつくなる would be best translated with something like "If you don't go to a Japanese university, finding work would be harder", to keep a relative-not-absolute shift in difficulty? Would the sentence with なら (日本の大学に行ってないなら) also have that absolute implication?
    – Mauro
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 21:38
  • 1
    Yeah what you wrote sounds correct to me @Mauro. I guess a plain "harder" would not carry the additional meaning of proportionality but apart from that, sounds like a good translation. Commented May 6, 2023 at 2:45
  • 1
    Would the sentence with なら (日本の大学に行ってないなら) also have that absolute implication? <- yes @Mauro Commented May 6, 2023 at 2:45

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