1

────アキバからの帰り道のことだった。

It was on the way home from Akiba.

Would the "だった" here cover both grouping everything that came before it and making it past tense?

"のこと" seems to generally translate to "(things) about ____", which I can't seem to translate naturally to English here. Is this an example where there's no good English equivalent and it's best to think of it just in terms of Japanese, or am I misunderstanding how ~のことだった is being used?

2 Answers 2

4

アキバからの帰り道のことだった。

~のことだ can indicate 時, time, when an event occurred.

From こと - ウィクショナリー日本語版:

名詞・事
こと
5. 事実。実際に起きた、あるいは起きているできごと。
  1.(「のこと」「のことだ」などの形で)時を表す。
  ところがその次の日のことだ。あの畜産の担任が、助手を連れて又やって来た。
  (宮沢賢治「フランドン農学校の豚」)

「その次の日のことだ。」 means "It was the next day" "It happened on the next day."
「アキバからの帰り道のことだった。」 means "It happened when I was on my way home from Akiba."


This のことだ indicates time rather than place, because 「(それは)アキバからの帰り道のことだった」「昨日の放課後のことだった」「ある日のことだ」 sound okay but 「(それは)アキバのことだった」, 「学校のことだった」, 「山田さんの家のことだった」 etc. do not. To mean "It happend in/at [place]", you should say 「(それは)アキバのことだった」「山田さんの家のことだった」, adding で.  

2
  • Wouldn't it be 「(それは)アキバからの帰り道のことだった」if you wanted to say that something happened on the way home from Akibahara instead of 「(それは)アキバでのことだった」? Jul 1, 2023 at 8:25
  • @Uri I didn't mean to say アキバでのことだった means "It happened on my way home from Akiba." It's just an example sentence for "something happened in [a place]."
    – chocolate
    Jul 1, 2023 at 9:22
2

As far as I know こと doesn't really have a translation in such sentences. But there is something lost here as the sentence would work with and without the こと. The difference would be the emphasis and range.

A good explanation about range can be found in this answer by Ento.

Without the こと you are talking specifically and only about the 「アキバからの帰り道」- the way home from Akihabara. With the こと you are talking about the whole experience of the way home from Akihabara - the train station, the tracks, the view, the walkways and everything that comes along.

So without the こと that might imply that whatever it was, it was RIGHT on your way home from Akihabara but with こと the implication is that it was SOMEWHERE in the vicinity of your way home from Akihabara. This notion is usually lost in translation.

You could force the English translation to reflect that by saying: "It was somewhere in the vicinity of the way home from Akibahara" but that is somewhat unnatural and cumbersome in English.

There is this video by Cure Dolly that might help (Disclaimer: Haven't seen it yet as I'm following the lessons mostly chronologically) but generally her explanations are very logical and well explained.

Hope this helps!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .