幸い context sentence help


#1

Context sentence:

幸い命に別状はありませんでした。
There’s nothing wrong with having a happy life.

幸い is listed as a noun and na-adjective meaning happiness, luck, fortune. As an adverb it means luckily, fortunately​.

So in the context sentence I’m confused about 幸い being right before 命 and resulting in the translation “happy life”. As a noun shouldn’t it be 幸いの命? Or as a na-adjective shouldn’t it be 幸いな命? And I don’t see how it could be modifying the noun 命 as an adverb given the meaning of 命 (if you can even use adverbs to modify nouns in Japanese; I have no idea).

What am I missing?


"There’s nothing wrong with having a happy life"
#3

In this case, 幸い is modifying not 命 as a noun but 命に別状 as a phrase. You would say it is working as an adverb, not an adjective. A translation might say something like “Fortunately, her life wasn’t at risk.”


#4

Aren’t na-adjectives made into adverbs by adding に to the stem, though? Is the に always dropped when modifying phrases or is this an exception?


#5

Per jisho, it seems 命に別状はありません is an expression.

And according to this 幸い + phrase is a thing, though there is not a detailed explanation.

Also the english translation may be more of a rough equivalent than exact.


#6

It seemed like a rough translation, but if the sentence is meant to be read with that expression in mind, the translation isn’t even in the same ballpark. It would translate to something more like “fortunately, my life is not in danger”.


#7

I was also confused about the meaning of this word. Jisho example sentences only used it as “fortunately” or “luckily” and when i experimentally used it as an alternative to 幸せ while talking with a Japanese friend - they responded with a confused look… which made me correct myself by erasing the 幸い -noun and sticking with 幸せ.

Props for bringing this up @seanblue


#8

@Kristen Based on the responses, can you double check if the translation is correct? It’s seems pretty far off from what everyone here thinks it should translate too.


#9

Thanks for tagging me @seanblue! (But I see these faster if they’re emailed in to hello@wanikani.com)

The sentence should be translated to:

Fortunately, it was not life-threatening.

And 幸い is functioning as an adverb here.

I’ve fixed the sentence on the site so it matches the corrected translation. Thanks for bringing this up!


#10

Thank you! I’ll be sure to email you from now on, but sometimes I want to double check on the forums first.


#11

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