[~ことがある] usage that I don't completely understand

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Michael_SD
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[~ことがある] usage that I don't completely understand

Post by Michael_SD » Sun 11.07.2010 4:41 pm

The following is the beginning of a dialogue in my textbook. The scenario is that a student, Susan, has gone to her professor's office to discuss her (Susan's) class schedule.

This is the first line she says in the dialogue:
先生、ちょっとご相談したいことがあるんですが、今よろしいでしょうか。

I have confidence that I have a good grasp on the core meaning of the [~ことがある] pattern, when it means "It sometimes happens that . . .", "There are times when . . .", etc., as in, say,
私はよく色々な日本語の文法の点が分からないことがあります。
私は時々仕事へ行く気がすることがあります。


I *do* read the original dialog sentence, [ 先生、ちょっとご相談したいことがあるんですが、今よろしいでしょうか ], literally, as something close to "Professor, there are times when I have been wanting to consult with you [regarding my classes]. Is now a good time?”

More naturally, I think that could be read as "Professor, I have been wanting to consult with you [regarding my classes.] Is now a good time?" Is this one a reasonable reading?


What it all boils down to, ultimately, is "Why is ~ことがある is used the way it is in [ 先生、ちょっとご相談したいことがあるんですが、今よろしいでしょうか ]?

NileCat
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Re: [~ことがある] usage that I don't completely understand

Post by NileCat » Sun 11.07.2010 5:20 pm

In your question, ~ことがある seems relatively easy to me.
Let’s take the phrase apart. It consists of こと, が, ある, right? Here, the phrase means literally, (there is) thing, is, existing. More naturally, it means “something is here” or “something I have”, ok?
ちょっとご相談したいことがあるんですが
“A little / I want to talk about / something I have”
would be the literal translation.
Which means, “Professor, I have something I want to talk with you”.
Then, you go on saying, “Do you have some time?”
In your example sentence, こと has nothing to do with time. It means “something” “some subject” or “some issue”.
Makes sense?

Michael_SD
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu 01.21.2010 3:06 pm
Native language: English
Location: San Diego

Re: [~ことがある] usage that I don't completely understand

Post by Michael_SD » Sun 11.07.2010 5:42 pm

NileCat wrote:In your question, ~ことがある seems relatively easy to me.
Let’s take the phrase apart. It consists of こと, が, ある, right? Here, the phrase means literally, (there is) thing, is, existing. More naturally, it means “something is here” or “something I have”, ok?
ちょっとご相談したいことがあるんですが
“A little / I want to talk about / something I have”
would be the literal translation.
Which means, “Professor, I have something I want to talk with you”.
Then, you go on saying, “Do you have some time?”
In your example sentence, こと has nothing to do with time. It means “something” “some subject” or “some issue”.
Makes sense?
First of all, thank you for your response.

I do understand your answer. Honestly, I do. Until you showed me how I erred, I had misunderstood the Japanese sentence pattern in Susan's sentence.

So, in contrast, then, how would Susan say 'Professor, sometimes I want to have a consultation with you?’

NileCat
Posts: 1168
Joined: Sat 08.01.2009 2:11 pm
Native language: Japanese
Location: Tokyo

Re: [~ことがある] usage that I don't completely understand

Post by NileCat » Sun 11.07.2010 7:13 pm

先生、時々ご相談させていただいてよろしいですか?
先生、時々ご相談させていただきたいのですが?
先生、時々ご相談させてください。

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