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In my Japanese class, I've been taught that the structure for "to think" is "~と思う", but no explanation was given for why this is the way it is.

For instance:

日本の中で食べ物は高いと思う。

Obviously the first part of the sentence reads, "In Japan, food is expensive" - but the last part doesn't seem to make sense in-context. Maybe it's because I haven't seen grammar structures with multiple verbs before.

さけおさんは酒を飲まないと思う。

This sentence has effectively the same structure as above, but the ending of the sentence just... doesn't sound right. It doesn't make logical sense given the grammar rules that I know so far.

How should I break this sentence down so I can hear this intuitively? Is the form "~と思う" part of a larger type of grammar that I am not yet aware of?

Additionally, I've never seen the particle と used this way before. What does it mean here?

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Can you please clarify why this grammar is so confusing for you? I was thinking that maybe you weren't understanding the use of the と particle, but the last sentence implies that you're having some additional confusions. Clarify please? –  Ataraxia May 23 at 13:07
    
@Atarax Sure - the answer actually covers it pretty well. In essence, that the grammar leading to the construction was never explained and is/was unclear. How do you think I could edit? –  Emrakul May 23 at 13:35
    
Ok no worries. If the answer covers it, then there's no need to edit. –  Ataraxia May 23 at 13:42
    
Emrakul, just so we're all on the same page, was your confusion caused by the omission of the (私は), as described in Chocolate's answer? Or had your studies so far not talked about と as a quotative particle? Or both? –  Eiríkr Útlendi May 23 at 17:31
    
@Eiríkr A combination of both, to be honest. If the 私は had been in there, it would have made a bit more sense overall, and the と I might have otherwise been able to find elsewhere. –  Emrakul May 23 at 20:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm not sure what's confusing you but...

Japanese often omits the subject when it's obvious from the context, so your first sentence can be read as:

『日本の中で食べ物は高い』と(私は)思う。
(I think that food is expensive in Japan.)

The と is the case particle as a quotative marker.
Likewise, your second sentence can be read as:

『さけおさんは酒を飲まない』と(私は)思う。
(I think that Sakeo-san doesn't drink alcohol.)

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