Random vocab/grammar question

Completely random question. In English, we say “sadly, John died.” And it obviously means “John dying was a sad turn of events” and not “John died while he was in a sad state.” Would 悲しく as in ジョンは悲しく亡くなった be interpreted the same as in English?

one think it is odd in japanese IMO is saying someone died,

several times they use “gerund” form? Like they died, why are you using it a way like someone is still in the present? ()んでいる。

Past tense is fine here. You’re thinking of “is dead.” Rather than “died.” What trips people up is that they see 死んでいる and think it means “is dying” (which would be 死にかけている)

I would say no. Something like 残念ながら would be more natural. Though I would just caution everyone when talking about real deaths to just be careful and not try to wing it. You can search for messages of consolation as well. Some might be old fashioned or very stiff, but that’s probably a better end of the spectrum to fall on than blunt or flippant.



so when I say someone is dead I can use ()んでいる and when someone died I use ()んだ ?

Grammatically yes. It’s a little blunt when actually talking about people to use 死ぬ though, so 亡くなる is better in discussing a real death.


The ~てしまう construction also performs the same function as “Sadly, X” does in English, though the subtext is more towards the “regrettably” side of things.


Ah of course, ジョンは亡くなってしまった thanks!

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