What does ‘’ if they had known but why ‘’ stand for here ?
Is it like , if they have just known it ? some kind of unfortunate omen .
Both were young fellows, both were rather poorly dressed, both had remarkable faces, and both were evidently anxious to start a conversation.
If they had known but why, at this particular moment, they were both remarkable persons, they would undoubtedly have wondered at the strange chance which had set them down opposite to one another in a third-class carriage of the Warsaw Railway Company.
“If they had but known why, at this particular moment, they were both remarkable persons, they would undoubtedly have wondered at the strange chance which had set them down opposite to one another in a third-class carriage of the Warsaw Railway Company.”
— The Idiot. By Fyodor Dostoevsky.
If they had but known why they were both remarkable persons, they would have wondered at the strange chance.
They did not wonder at the strange chance because they did not know why they were both remarkable persons.
“What does ‘’ if they had known but why ‘’ stand for here ?
Is it like , if they have just known it ? some kind of unfortunate omen .”
If you had only known why “had + past participle” and “would have + past participle” were used, you would have been able to understand the structure of the sentence.
If you had been able to disregard the phrase “at this particular moment”, you would have connected the “why” with the phrase “they were both remarkable persons”. Punctuation marks are important.
So , instead of answering the question you regretted about some thing and in the end you came to a conclusion that
‘’ Punctuation marks are important.’
IF IT IS NOT Yutaka- san THEN WHO
This is very “literary” writing, written a long time ago, by someone who may not be a native English speaker translating a text written in Russian.
Take out the word “but” and it will make more sense.
The paragraph basically says: we have two remarkable guys, but they didn’t know they were remarkable. If they knew why they were actually remarkable, they would have found it a strange chance that the situation being written about was happening.
Yes, this phrasing is a bit strange even to native English speakers. Curiously, the original Russian seems to me to be more plainly phrased:
“Если б они оба знали один про другого, чем они особенно в эту минуту замечательны, то, конечно, подивились бы, что случай так странно посадил их друг против друга в третьеклассном вагоне петербургско-варшавского поезда.”
This is not the first time that I’ve noticed older English translations to be more “florid” than what I find in Russian originals.
I find this also in English translations of Portuguese authors. The translator attempts to improve the original and falls somewhat short of the mark.
It’s the same as saying “If the they had know the reason…they were both remarkable, they…”
"What does ‘if they had known but why’ stand for here ? "
この質問は、「know but why」という部分が特別な意味があると思ってなされたのでしょうか。しかし、whyは後続する主語および動詞と結びついた名詞節の一部であり、ifから始まる部分は、仮定法の条件節です。butがonlyの意味である以外は特別なことは何もないのですが、質問者はこのようなことを理解できなかったのでしょう。（whyの後のコンマで節が終わると勘違いしたのではないかと想像します。）
Punctuation marks are important.