Sentence break-up/explanation please T^T


“Gazing into the unclouded dephts of her lustrous eyes, I wondered, would she really die?”

The biggest demotivation for me is when I read a sentence and can’t put together a meaning. Misa from Japanese Ammo gave a great advice to first translate the verb, and break the sentence up after each particle. Even though I do that, many MANY times I can’t figure out the meaning. How do you do that, who you get the meaning? :sob:

Thank you for any help.

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There are some liberties in your translation, but it looks good. What exactly is the problem?
said I just before going to bed without waiting for an answer :sweat_smile:

It would probably help to have a little context as to where this sentence came from and what other sentences came before or after it, but here’s a few things I noticed.

透き徹るほど深く見える This phrase, “to the extent of transparency, deeply visible” seems to be saying that the narrator (whoever this 自分 is), perceives this person’s eyes as being hazy and almost transparent, like he can see right through them almost.
黒眼色沢: 黒眼 means “pupil.” Pupils are normally dark, but the narrator finds that they are transparent, and see-through. Furthermore, he sees not the pupil, but the “luster” of the pupil.
Overall, it seems to me that the purpose of all this description is to convey that this person’s eyes are lifeless and dead-looking. Then in the next clause, we have これでも. From goo jisho, I found that it has two primary meanings of こう見えても (even though it may appear this way) and この程度でも (even to this extent). So it seems that the narrator is wondering if whatever just happened before this sentence was enough to kill this person, and he(/she?) seems to be in disbelief. But since I don’t know what’s going on in the story that this is presumably taken from, I may very well be entirely wrong with my assumptions.

I think when reading, the most important thing to remember is that the author is trying to convey some sort of message, whether it be a story in a book or some sort of information in non-fiction work, and each sentence is trying to add to that message, so try to keep track of what’s going on and see how the current sentence relates to that. I don’t know how useful that is, but it helps me when I try to read longer passages in Japanese.


Could the これでも refer to what was in the previous phrase? That is, could the second phrase mean: “I wondered, even though it appears that her lustrous pupils are so deeply visible so as to be transparent, might she still die?”

@TofuguKanae has started many threads for this purpose, e.g.

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Is this from Soseki’s 夢十夜?

If so, the original sentence is:

Looks like a tiny difference, but the の between 黒眼 and 色沢 is important, as the particle の indicates the object is the luster (色沢) of the pupil (though, @phyro guessed it right without it! ).

Anyway, not sure what Misa’s method is exactly, but more complicated the sentence is, finding verbs first may not work too well. For example, this sentence has 5 verbs and a couple of them function adjectivally. Identifying the verb that’s the core of the sentence is important, but if you translate all the verbs first, to me personally, it feels like it may confuse Japanese learners.

Anyway, it is not really a method, but if I explain the meaning and the structure of this sentence…


自分: I
透き徹る: to be seen through (intransitive verb) = adj. transparent
深く: deep
見える: to look, to seem
黒眼: pupil
色沢: luster
眺める: to stare
死ぬ: to die
思う: to think

If I Break down…

“I,” the storyteller. This is the subject of the sentence.

___ほど●●● = so ●●● that ___
“so deep that looks transparent
This chunk describes この黒眼の色沢 which comes next.

“starting at the luster of this pupil,”
If combined with the previous chunk, it’d be “starting at the luster of this pupil that’s so deep that looks transparent.”

“(I) wondered if (she) would really die.”
The subject “I” is at the very beggening of the sentence. It doesn’t include the subject for the verb die, but I identified it was “she” from your translation.

@phyro did a great research on これでも.

If without これでも and it was just 死ぬのかと思った, that’d have been “I thought (she) would die.”
But これでも adds the feeling of doubt. Is she really going to die?
So this indicates that the storyteller isn’t sure if she’s actually going to die. He doubts it because she still has unclouded eyes (which I think implies she’s still healthy).

Not a natural translation, but if all combined,
“I wondered if she would really die, starting at the luster of this pupil that’s so deep that looks transparent.”

I looked up and checked the context. Before this sentence, she was repeatedly saying “I think I am going to die.”
This makes sense as the storyteller doesn’t believe she’s actually dying because of the look of her eyes and what she’s saying is contradictory.

Hope this helps. I never thought of a tactic or a tip for reading, so if I can come up with one, I’ll share here.
But for this instance, you may want to work on vocab, idioms, expressions. That won’t be a waste of your time. Every WaniKani’s vocab has a few context sentences and they aren’t too complicated, so it might be a good starter of your reading practice. :slight_smile:
Also feel free to let me know if you run into something specific that you couldn’t figure out by yourself. I’ll try to help!


Thank you so much! I didn’t understand the first part of the sentence, the “透き徹るほど深く見える.” Now that you made two separate sentences from it I get it, but the original translation confused me.


yes, the meaning of これでも here is “and yet, still.”

This is very helpful, thank youu! The way I understood the 透き徹るほど深く見える is “so transparent that I can see deeply into it”. Is the meaning still the same as with your translation?

この黒眼の色沢を眺めて - why is here を, and not に?

I agree, the wanikani sentences are a good reading practice.

Thanks again, these breakdowns are super useful. Oh and yes, it’s from 夢十夜 :slight_smile:

As long as the meaning remains the same, it is fine. My translation was literal just so that can you see the meaning of each vocab and how they were combined together, etc.

眺める is a transitive verb, which generally uses を for objects.
The only situation that I can think of now when we use に for 眺める is when using adverbs such as 静かに眺める (to stare quietly), etc.

I get it now, thanks a lot! :bowing_woman:

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