Volitional decoupled from 1st person

TheNikus

Member
German
Without much of an introduction, let me ask if I'm using the volitional correctly here.

俺がその気を逸らす間お前ら二人は家の内を探そう。
You two search the house while I distract them.
 
  • gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    俺がその気を逸らす間お前ら二人は家の内を探そう。
    You two search the house while I distract them.

    That sounds odd to me. The English is the imperative form, and I think it should be the same in Japanese (or the dictionary form, which implies a command here).

    俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探せ。
    俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探して。
    俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探す。
    俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探すんだ。
    etc.

    The first one seems to me to be the best fit because of the pronouns you chose. Also, I don't think the "二人" is necessary, since the two listeners know how many they are. It sounds very natural in English, but isn't really required in Japanese.
     

    TheNikus

    Member
    German
    That sounds odd to me. The English is the imperative form, and I think it should be the same in Japanese (or the dictionary form, which implies a command here).

    俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探せ。

    Thank you for your answer. I thought that I might end up using the imperative. Also, I included the 二人 because the context requires specifying two people.

    I see that you switched out my その for 彼らの. I noticed that その is sometimes used to mean his/her/its/their, if I understood correctly. I tried using it here to avoid an excess of pronouns, but I also have a feeling that this use of その is somewhat archaic?
     

    Joschl

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    As Gengo-san said, the so-called dictionary form "V-(r)u" can also be used to express imperative mood in some situations. But "俺が彼らの気をそらしている間、お前ら(二人)は家の内を探す。" doesn't sound as natural as a German sentence like "Ihr beide durchsucht die Wohnung/das Haus, während ich sie ablenke". that can be used to give instructions (eine Anweisung). If you want to use the dictionary form "V-(r)u" to give instructions, for whatever reason, you can also use constructions, such as "V-(r)u koto" or "V-(r)u yō ni".
    "[…], お前ら(二人)は家の内を探すこと。"
    "[…], お前ら(二人)は家の内を探すように。"
     
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