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

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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 ...
35
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7answers
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What is the difference between the 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. Some examples ...
19
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1answer
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~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 → ...
13
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2answers
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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 ...
18
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2answers
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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。
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3answers
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Are there more irregular verbs like 行く?

I thought when you have a consonant-stem verb ending with -ku you replace it with -ita. For example kaku ("to write") becomes kaita. But this doesn't happen with iku, which becomes itta, so I guess ...
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2answers
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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?
6
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1answer
351 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 ...
28
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5answers
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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 ...
13
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5answers
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What is the difference between 見える【みえる】/聞こえる【きこえる】 and 見られる【みられる】/聞ける【きける】?

In Japanese, there is a potential form to express that it's possible for something to be done. My own examples of potential form: 辛【から】い食【た】べ物【もの】が食【た】べられる。 (I can eat spicy foods.) ...
12
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1answer
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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" ...
5
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1answer
993 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 ...
2
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3answers
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~ておく / とく for preparation (Conjugation and nuance)

A few quick questions regarding ~ておく and the casual form ~とく Firstly, when changing from ~ておく to the more casual ~とく I'm assuming the verb is first conjugated to the ~て form then the ~て is dropped ...
1
vote
1answer
159 views

What conjugation is 助けて, when used as an interjection?

According to Wiktionary, the only conjugation I can match this to is the conjunctive form, but that doesn't make any sense, given the context (as in "Help me!"). What would the equivalent conjugation ...
17
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
13
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1answer
396 views

Difference between 書かないようになった and 書かなくなった?

Example sentences: ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かないようになった。 ぜんぜん長い手紙を書かなくなった。 My Translation: I never write long letters anymore. I believe they both mean the same thing but there's obviously some difference I ...
20
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2answers
634 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 ...
14
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4answers
460 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 ...
13
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2answers
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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? ...
8
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1answer
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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。 ...
3
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1answer
315 views

What is the etymology of 〜ません(でした)?

I have always been interested in the negative polite (〜ません) and negative past-polite (〜ませんでした) inflections of verbs. My understanding is that ます is an inflectable function word (助動詞), so I'm ...
15
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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2answers
432 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
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2answers
95 views

Proper form of なさる - なさります or なさいます

In Genki II (second ed.), page 168 we are given polite forms of some verbs, among them する with なさる. They have also written that some of them have irregular conjugations in long forms, among them なさる, ...
5
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2answers
196 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 ...
5
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1answer
922 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
1answer
101 views

What is 〜んだ and how is it used?

I was listening to a playlist of songs today and I heard the line 「…目を開け弱さをかき消すんだ」 What exactly is 〜んだ and when/how is it used?
10
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1answer
360 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 ...
12
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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What does the “〜やしない” conjugation mean?

In episode 76 of Fairy Tail, Gildarts said this to Natsu: 本気でそう思ったら、止めやしないよ。 (honki de sou omottara, tomeyashinai yo) Which was translated in the subtitle as: If that's what you honestly ...
6
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1answer
332 views

Etymology of the copula だ

I think of だ as being the only copula, which can be inflected to で and な. In my mind all other copula-like words are derived from these forms, i.e. です ⇔ であります じゃない ⇔ ではない だろう ⇔ であろう etc. ...
5
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2answers
313 views

と言います vs.と言われています

I'm playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past(ゼルダの伝説:神々のトライフォース)and this sentence came up (spoken by one of the 7 maidens): ハイリアの民は、ふしぎな力を あやつることが、できたと言います。 I think this means "It is ...
5
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2answers
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Help with the difference between causative and the causative-passive for the verb 笑う

I've always had a hard time immediately understanding the differences between passive, causative, and causative-passive. If I really sit down and try to work out the meaning I can generally get it, ...
10
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3answers
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Why do we use 〜ないで instead of 〜なくて before auxiliary ください?

I was taught in college that the 〜ない verb conjugation behaves like an i-adjective, thus it has 〜く form, it takes 〜ければ for "if" scenario, it modifies the noun that follows it etc. Also, I know that the ...
5
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1answer
411 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 ...
5
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1answer
560 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 ...
14
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1answer
317 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
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2answers
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About 「同{おな}じ」 and 「同{おな}じく」

As far as I know, 「[同じ]{おなじ}」 is not a 形容詞{けいようし} (-i adjective) so how does it become 「[同じく]{おなじく}」? Or does 「同じく」 not come from 「同じ」? Also, are there any other non i-adjectives that have -ku ...
8
votes
3answers
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Conjunctive form (e.g. 書き) vs Conj + mono (e.g. 書き物)

I'm trying to fully understand the plain conjunctive form without a suffix. I've seen it mainly in the form of 話, where it means a talk or speech. So I think it means something along the lines of "the ...
7
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1answer
359 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
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2answers
575 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? ...
5
votes
1answer
123 views

とまらない in One Punch Man OP meaning とまれない (negative potential)

The negative form of 止{と}まる (to stop) is 止まらない, and the negative potential form is 止まれない. However, I've noticed that 止まらない can be used in the sense of 止まれない. For example, the OP for One Punch Man ...
5
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2answers
345 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.
2
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1answer
188 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 across 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 I know it is used as the negative of an adjective... but 言う is a ...
8
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1answer
243 views

Can けれども be analysed further?

Consider the conjunction ども, e.g.: 行けども 言えども Formation rule: Verb Hypothetical form (仮定形) + ども This leads me to hypothesise that the conjunction けれども (meaning "but; however; although") is ...
6
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1answer
438 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
441 views

Do 形容詞 have a 未然形 in Classical Japanese?

I was reading Eiríkr Útlendi's answer about -い vs. -き in 形容詞 and noticed that he identified -く as the 未然形 of 形容詞. When I studied classical Japanese, though, I was taught that 形容詞 lack a 未然形 (and also ...
3
votes
1answer
321 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
68 views

Is there any difference for using 連用形 vs 連体形 when listing 形容動詞 to modify a 名詞?

E.g. 危険な投機的な事業 危険で投機的な事業 Are they both grammatical and mean the exact same thing?