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ように / 精一杯 questions

killerinsidee

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I have 2 questions which are probably stupid, but I'll ask anyway.

1. Differentiating ように (in order to) and ように (like, as though, as if, ...)

I've seen some sentences where both meanings are possible (or at least I think so). Example - 「二人の仲を見せつけるように, 彼らは腕を組んで出て行った」and 「彼女は祈るように胸の前で手を合わせた」(both examples are from 研究社新和英大辞典).
The translation given for the first sentence is - "They went out arm in arm, as though to make their relationship clear [make it clear that they were more than just good friends]. " , that should have the meaning "they were doing like/as though...". I'm fine with that, but couldn't it also mean "they were doing it in order to..."? Same thing in the 2nd sentence, the given translation was "She joined her hands before her breast, as if in prayer", isn't it possible to also mean "She joined her hands in order to pray"?

Is the only way to tell the difference in these cases only by context or are there some rules about it I'm not aware of?

2. Exact meaning of 精一杯

I kind of understand that it means "with all one's might/ability, etc.", but that seems to only work when used adverbially, e.g. - 精一杯働く (work with all one's might / as hard as possible).
Recently I saw this word used like a normal noun in these kind of sentences - 「歩くだけで精一杯なのに, まして走るなんてとんでもない。」、「彼らの専門的な話題にはついて行くだけで精一杯だ。」. I'm guessing that だけで精一杯 would mean something along the lines of - by (means) of only that (action) it is all i can do / is best i can do (力のかぎり/できるかぎり).

There's also the "3rd use", just the normal stuff - 「自分ひとり食べていくのが精一杯だ。」、「立っているのが精一杯だ。」which is kind of confusing to me for some reason. Do those sentences mean mean "Supporting myself is best i can do / limit of what I'm able to do" and "Standing is all i can do / is the extent of what i can do (can't do anything else)?

I would appreciate if someone could tell me if what I've written above is correct or I have the wrong idea about 精一杯.
 

Toritoribe

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1)
You get to the heart of the problem, although you deleted it;-). When the subordinate clause expresses the things the agent/subject of the main clause can control, ように can't mean "in order to". ように is often used for non-volitional verbs, potential forms/verbs or negative forms in this meaning. In your example sentences, both 二人の仲を見せつける and 祈る are volitional and the subjects of the main clauses (彼ら and 彼女) can control those two things (they can choose whether they make their relationship clear or not, she can choose whether she pray or not), so ように can't mean "in order to". When expressing "in order to" in these cases, ために is used instead.
e.g.
She joined her hands in order to pray.
彼女は祈るために胸の前で手を合わせた。

2)
All those 精一杯 mean "(the extent of) what I can do / all I can do". 精一杯働く means "to work to the (best) extent of what I can do", 歩くだけで精一杯 is "all I can do (now) is only walking", etc.
 

killerinsidee

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That volition thing is really messing with me lately :/ . Anyways, thanks for taking the time to answer my silly questions so far. Your explanations are great.

Edit: Short sub questions, does the で in だけで精一杯 mean "by means of"? I'm asking because a similar thing is in that だけ(は)なく construct, but I'm not sure if it actually means that "by..." in this phrase.
 
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Toritoribe

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Not silly at all. It's a good question.:)

で indicates 基準 "criterion / standard", not 手段 "means" there. As for だけで(は)なく, で is not a particle but a conjugation from of the copula だ.
 
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