Need help with an expression

I found an expression in japanese while reading and I am not quite sure of the meaning.


自分 = oneself
気がつく = to notice
ほど = degree/extend
ばかな者 = idiot.

My attempt is : An idiot that can’t see he is an idiot is not an idiot.

Thx in advance.

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There is no idiot like the idiot who doesn´t realize that he is an idiot.


thanks a lot

Shouldn’t it be 自分がバカだっ気?

Don’t ask me to explain grammar, but the って = と (marking a quoted phrase/subordinate clause).


バカだって気がつく is short for バカ
だということに気がつく(to realize the fact of being an idiot)

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I’m pretty sure that its だって
Being a baka but not realizing itだって-datte/

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Pretty sure you can break it down like this.

Part 1: main sentence

自分がバカだって気がついてない is just a big phrase modifying バカ so let’s scratch it out.

(自分がバカだって気がついてない) バカほど、ばかな者はない。

At which point you’re left with: バカほど、ばかな者はない。
Which follows this A ほど B ない construction.

So you’re left with “there’s nothing as stupid (B) as an idiot who… (A)”

Part 2: modifying phrase
And then we’ll just work out the meaning of the modifying phrase…

自分がバカだ (A) + って気がついてない (B) + バカ (C)
So this is an idiot (C) who hasn’t realized (B) that he’s stupid (A)

And then we get here to DerRittmeister’s answer.

Dunno why I typed that out I was kind of just working it out in my head.


You can’t do バカだった気がつく… 気がつく means “to realize” You don’t realize yourself in the past tense - you’re realizing 気がつく the fact こと “being and idiot” バカだって、バカだという

This is a bit exhausting to type on my phone, I’ll get back to this when i’m home from work.

Yes, I wanted to modify the 気 with a relative clause because you can’t use だ in there it’s in the past. Seems less smart once you think about it :slight_smile: I’m not so good with colloquial contractions …

This is side-stepping what is actually contracted, Aと気づく doesn’t work, to realize something is Aに気づく, so we need a Aというに気づく, に requires a noun clause, and so we reach @omukai’s answer Aということに気(が)つく. [が is optional?]

バカだと気がついた is a totally fine way to use 気がつく. You don’t need to use a に for that.

Random sentence off google

I was playing around a bit with, に – と is 64375 – 976 for 気づく.

Cool, I mean I don’t really know what to say. Here’s a passage from アンの青春 赤毛のアン though.


I was searching for 気づく, maybe there is a difference after all to 気がつく?

Uh I don’t really know. Goo lists 気づく as a synonym in the definition for 気がつく but maybe 気がつく can be modified in ways the other can’t since 気づく is a verb and 気がつく is an expression.

~に気がつく does appear as a construction in Tobira but I suppose that’s not the only way you can use it since I’ve seen a number of examples where it was used with other particles.

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I would translate it as “there’s no idiot dumb enough to not realize that they’re an idiot.”

Does this mean the same thing? I’m thoroughly confused.

Not quite. @DerRittmeister’s translation is more like “the idiot who doesn’t know he’s an idiot is the biggest idiot”.


Here’s a video from Nihongonomori explaining 〜ほど〜はない as meaning 〜が一番〜だ, which I think is in line with @DerRittmeister’s translation.


Let’s break this down
自分がバカだ the fact that someone is an idiot
って気がついてないバカほど、to the degree that they('re such an idiot that they) didn’t yet realize (they are an idiot)
ばかな者はない。such an idiotic person doesn’t exist

-> there’s no idiot like one who didn’t yet realize they are one
-> only real idiots don’t get that they’re idiots

Now for the grammar:
自分がバカだって is colloquial, and the って could be anything from だって to だということ, including half-assed constructs like だってこと (which incidentally would be how i would have phrased it).
気がついてない did not yet realize
バカ THIS here is the one noun that’s been modified by everything before
ほど、and here comes “to the degree that”
ばかな者はない。“such an idiot doesn’t exist”.

Now, this was not only colloquial, this also lacked even a minimum of eloquence, it would even make a Japanese person frown. It’s just a chaotic stream of consciousness type of sentence, no wonder OP had problems comprehending it.

If i were to phrase it, I’d do it like
(and my だって here was actually just a slurred だと, no “invisible magic” to be found.

Thanks, I think you’re right.

For some reason, I understood it as 自分がバカだって気がついてないほど、バカな者はいない。(missing the second バカ)