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was translated awkwardly on ALC as

She is very pretty for the liveliness of her expression.

Which おり is this? I think I know it from the polite しております but is it here wielding more expressive meaning?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Let me have a go at this:

  • 彼女{かのじょ}は: She/Her (establishing context)

  • 表情{ひょうじょう}が: expression (with nominative case marker)

  • 生{い}き生{い}き: vividly, lively

  • して: Verb conjunctive form of する

  • おり: 連用形 of 居る{おる} (To be/exist for animate things) This should be the verb you're looking for

  • とても: intensifier

  • かわいい: pretty

  1. The verb is 生き生きとして居る, the subject is 表情. Combining them yields "There is a vivid/lively expression"

  2. Context is 彼女

    Combining 1. and 2. yields "For her, there is a vivid lively expression"

Now put the verb in 連用形 to get:


One of the uses of the 連用形 is to join up several sentences as subphrases into a large continuous sentence.*

One sentence has been established, which is in 3.彼女は表情が生き生きとしており

The other sentence is とてもかわいい ((She) is very pretty)

Combining them yields "She has a lively expression, she is very pretty"

EDIT: Regarding your comment on trying to introduce a "because" nuance.

You can use the て-form of the verb to introduce an implicit sequence of events. (Weak causal relation)(If you want a stronger causal relation, use から)

See Verb Grammar - The Verb Conjunctive Form(You have to scroll down a little bit)

The difference between linking sentences with て-form and linking with 連用形 is that there is no implicit sequence of events when linking with 連用形.

*Extracted from nihongoresources:

One of the uses of the 連用形 is to join up several sentences as subphrases into a large continuous (which is what 連用 means) sentence, similar to how in English for instance you would join up two sentences by putting a comma between them and if necessary changing the phrasing on the first sentence just a tiny bit. If we look at an example you might get an idea of how this works:

日本語: 花が咲く。 English: Flowers bloom.

日本語: 鳥が鳴く English: Birds are chirping..

日本語: 春が来た。 English: Spring has come.

We can combine these into a single sentence:

日本語: 花が咲き鳥が鳴き春が来た。 English: Flowers bloom, birds are chirping; spring has come.

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I realised I did not properly deal with 生き生きとして, I'm not sure how して relates to the と particle. But it seems adverbial to me. I'd like someone to correct/verify this and/or provide good English parsing for this. – Flaw Sep 30 '11 at 1:51
Thank you very much. In the provided translation it is implied that she is pretty/cute because of her lively expression, while in your translation what is pretty/cute is her expression. Which do you think is more correct? My initial impulse was to assign the おり with something of a "because" twist to it, as I've seen this pattern as you've described it, acting as a comma. – yadokari Sep 30 '11 at 2:54
It should be "she's very pretty" since she's the one marked by は. Think of it as combining 彼女は表情が生き生きとして居る。 with 彼女はとてもかわいいです。 I will edit my translation to reflect this. – Flaw Sep 30 '11 at 3:36
Thanks for the input. My very loose translation is "What a lively expression she has...she's so cute!" – yadokari Sep 30 '11 at 4:21

It replaces the verb stem (of いる) for morpho-phonological reason.

The construction in your example uses a verb stem to continue another predicate after it as in:

よく食べ、よく寝る。 [Vowel verb stem 'tabe']
年月が経ち、忘れてしまった。 [Consonant verb stem 'tat' followed by the epenthetic vowel 'i']

When you use the verb いる in this construction, its stem 'i' is very short that some people don't like it, and may even consider it ungrammatical:


Those people replace i with a longer verb stem or, which can be considered in present Japanese a variant of this verb stem:

生き生きとしており、とてもかわいい。 [Consonant verb stem 'or' followed by the epenthetic vowel 'i']

When it is followed by an affix, the shortness of the stem is compensated by the affix, and it does not sound bad, so both forms are allowed:



The translation that you got is a good one for a literal translation.

 'As for her, the facial expressions being lively, she is very pretty.' (Literal)
 'Her facial expressions are lively, which make her very pretty.' (Natural)

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your answer is way better, it explains why いる becomes おる even though they're both 居る. – Flaw Sep 30 '11 at 2:11
thank you, Sawa. Would you have a take as to a better translation for the sentence? – yadokari Sep 30 '11 at 2:53

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