The inflections of verbs. How the endings of verbs change to reflect grammatical factors such as tense and aspect.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

40
votes
5answers
5k views

Differences among -たら、なら、-んだったら、-えば, etc

Japanese language has a lot of patterns for "if" clauses. What are the differences among the following patterns and how do we choose to use one over the others?: 行ったら 行くなら 行けば 行くんだったら 行くのなら 行くとしたら ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

~うございます - keigo い-adjectives

I'm not sure if this is actual keigo, or just a polite form of adjectives. Anyway, there are several that we're all familiar with that are still used today. はやい → おはようございます ありがたい → ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Difference between negative forms {-ず} and {-ぬ}

{-ず} and {-ぬ} are two alternatives to the negative form {-ない} / {-ません}. But I noticed that depending on the word, it's either {-ず} or {-ぬ}, although it seems like some words can take both suffixes. ...
12
votes
2answers
598 views

Meaning of ぬ added to 連用形 / masu-stem, as in 風立ちぬ

What does the ぬ at the end of 立ち specify? I can't find a verb that is just 立ちぬ, is this some kind of special form? Can this be done with other verbs as well? 風立ちぬ, for reference, is Miyazaki's new ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is 知りません the negative form of 知っています?

I'm reading Minna no Nihongo (Chapter 15) and it says what I wrote in the question. I would think the negative would be 知っていません。
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Does -ou / -you / -mashou conjugation have a negative form?

Does the -ou / -you / -mashou (the "let's X") form have a negative counterpart? For example, how do I say "let's not X" for the following?: 行こう 食べよう 寝ましょう As far as I can remember, the Japanese ...
10
votes
2answers
688 views

What is the difference between [plain form of verb]~そう and [root of verb]~そう?

I heard both forms of [plain form of verb]~そう and [root of verb]~そう in an anime I watched, reproduced below, so I'm wondering how are they different and how to choose to use one over the other? ...
7
votes
2answers
282 views

Saying “as if to say” - What's happened to 言う in と言わんばかりに?

Can you help breakdown 言わん? 彼女は当たり前と言わんばかりに答えた She answered as if it was a matter of fact. Are these incorrect, have different meanings? 彼女は当たり前と言うばかりに答えた 彼女は当たり前なことばかりに答えた ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

What is going on with 書けている? What is Potential Form+ている?

I'm having difficulty in understanding 書けている (initially observed from an answer to "パソコンが 得意だ/わかる/上手だ"). Also observed from SPACEALC: この小説は上手に書けている。 最もよく書けている記事。 ...
5
votes
1answer
250 views

Does the 助動詞「ます」 still have a 連体形 in modern Japanese?

Does the 助動詞「ます」 have a 連体形? According to 大辞林, it's ます, and I see the old forms ます/まする on 学研全訳古語辞典. However, in the comments on this question, Darius Jahandarie wrote the following: @snailplane ...
15
votes
2answers
415 views

Why is it なさそう and not なそう

"It seems there is none" is なさそう, which escapes the usual rule for 形容詞 (イ-adjectives), which says "drop the い and add そう". Is there a historical explanation for this exception? And does it have ...
12
votes
2answers
848 views

What exactly does an adjective stem + そう mean?

The other day I posted a picture of some food on Facebook, and I noticed that all of my Japanese friends were saying 「おいしそう」. I made a good guess to what it meant, but I wasn't certain what exactly ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Japanese really an agglutinative language?

In the linguistics topic of language typology, Japanese is often included in lists of agglutinative (or agglutinating) languages, but when learning or reading about Japanese grammar exclusively this ...
11
votes
1answer
807 views

Where does the verbal form しとく come from?

In a manga I am currently reading, one of the character exclaims: 安心しな。秘密に しとく から。 The general meaning of the second part ("I'll keep it a secret") is quite obvious, and it seems that "しとく" ...
14
votes
1answer
261 views

General applicability of the ~ませ conjugation

I have only found the ~ませ conjugation used in the following honorific verbs: いらっしゃいませ くださいませ なさいませ Can the conjugation be applied to other honorific verbs, like おっしゃいませ or めしあがりませ? Or even common ...
12
votes
2answers
497 views

Why isn't 「ある」's negative form 「あらない」?

ある is listed in dictionaries as having ラ行五段活用, which would suggest a negative form of あらない. However, that form does not exist. Why not? Confusing things further, おっしゃる is derived from ある, yet おっしゃる ...
11
votes
2answers
533 views

About the な part in negative imperative verb form (e.g. 飲むな)

In the Japanese version of "don't drink and drive" slogan, 【乗るなら飲むな】 (also 【飲んだら乗るな】), what part of speech is the な that follows the plain verb 飲む (or 乗る in the second variation) to form the negative ...
8
votes
1answer
282 views

What form is 恐るる?

In Final Fantasy VIII, Bahamut has a little speech: …G.F.とは我らのことか 我らを力として使うとは… 恐るるべきは人間どもよ I'd never seen two るs doubled up like that. Which conjugation is this? It seems to have plenty of ...
6
votes
3answers
691 views

What does “+ra shinai” conjugation mean?

In episode 76 of Fairy Tail, Gildarts said this to Natsu: 本気でそう思ったら、止めらしないよ。 (honki de sou omottara, tomera shinai yo) Which was translated in the subtitle as: If that's what you honestly ...
11
votes
4answers
334 views

“Unsolvable problem”

What is the correct construction of "unsolvable problem"? Is it "解{と}けられない問題{もんだい}"?(Question 1) Plain(intransitive): 解{と}ける "To be solved". Potential form(of intransitive): 解けられる "can be ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How to differentiate ~られる conjugation between passive form and potential form?

For verbs of group 2, whose ~ます form is formed by dropping the ending ~る from the plain form, both the passive and potential forms have the same conjugation: ~られる. Example: 食べられる 1. to be eaten ...
7
votes
1answer
253 views

Is 来おった the 連用形{れんようけい} of くる plus おる → おった?

I came across the following dialogue, which occurs right as the hero arrives: 「やっと来おったか。」 I'm not sure how to parse 来おった. Is it 来{き} + 居{お}る? If so, what exactly does this form mean? Do other ...
7
votes
2answers
404 views

Meaning of …立てちゃいなよ

I am organizing an event and posted a flyer on a famous SNS. Someone commented on it saying: イベント立てちゃいなよ From the context I guess it is advising me to create an event (SNS feature), am I mistaken? ...
3
votes
1answer
504 views

Examples of when passive form in English takes active/non passive form in Japanese

Can anyone give a few more common examples (or even more insight) of when we should be "switching" from English passive into Japanese active/non-passive? (A joint effort might help a lot of us to ...
3
votes
1answer
334 views

What are the “slots” in the Japanese agglutinative verb system?

In another question we established that Japanese is an agglutinating language (more here), if only in its verb system. Since it is not traditional in Japanese grammar or teaching to go into this ...
5
votes
1answer
291 views

から and ので formation/conjugation differences

Consider the case when から and ので follows a noun, な-adjective, or noun-equivalent: から:静かだから... "Because it is quiet..." (Subjective causality) ので:静かなので... "Because it is quiet..." (Objective ...
4
votes
2answers
147 views

Questions about 背負う

背負う is pronounced せおう, but many dictionaries also list a second pronunciation as しょう. I've never heard it pronounced as しょう in practice. In what situations does it have this pronunciation? Is ...
4
votes
2answers
288 views

Can there be such a thing as のんでましょう?

I know のみましょう but I was wondering if the above was legal japanese as well.
3
votes
1answer
151 views

The use of ~た、~ている、~ていた to refer to a resultant state (new question)

Can someone explain why 持った is used in place of 持っている in the following sentence (from Monday's Japan Times)? 会話能力を持った初の人間型ロボットキロボが宇宙飛行士の若田幸一さんと国際宇宙ステーションで雑談した。 The first humanoid robot with ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

What forms of verbs (potential or passive) are more frequent in Japanese?

A simple question to those speaking and the native ones. What of the two forms (potential verbs or passive voice verbs) in Japanese verbs is more frequent? This question may seem strange, but I need ...
3
votes
1answer
490 views

What would be the literal meaning of the causative form here? 暴風警報発令中のため本日の営業はお休みとさせていただきます。

暴風警報発令中のため本日 bōfū keihō hatsurei chū notame honjitsu の営業はお休みとさせて no eigyō wa oyasumi to sasete いただきます。 itadakimasu. 暴風 bōfū = storm winds 警報 keihō = warning 発令 hatsurei = official ...
2
votes
3answers
226 views

できる vs ~えます form for “can”, “able to” [duplicate]

A couple of days ago I tried to express "I can ..." where "..." was some some verb or verb phrase. I used the ~て form of the ... verb followed by 出来ます but was told instead to change the form of the ...
2
votes
1answer
291 views

Understanding ありやな

貯金も確かにありやな!! お金があったら何でも出来るし. I'm definitely into saving money too! If you have money you can do anything. My young friend wrote this to me. Would someone be kind enough to explain the やな for ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

言わない VS 言わなくない A negative verb conjugated as an adjective?

While reading a text in Japanese, I came up with the phrase "何も言わなくなったから" I don't understand what the ~くない stands for. As far as know is used as the negative for of an adjective... but 言う is a verb! ...